Andean Condors and Peru's Colca Canyon

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The Andean Condor is a majestic bird that soars high over the Andes Mountains of South America. They can live for over fifty years and have the largest wingspan of any bird in our world. Andean Condors are vultures and live by eating large carrion such as cattle, deer, llamas, vicunas, or alpacas. These birds are revered throughout all of South America and have been for centuries. In Peru, an excellent place to view the Andean Condor is at a spot overlooking the Colca Canyon - the deepest canyon in the world. One viewing place is known as Cruz del Condor. The Andean Condors nest on sheer cliff walls below this viewing point and often rise on thermal updrafts and soar past this site amazingly closely. These photos of Andean Condors were taken at Cruz del Condor in both late February and early March of 2009.

Larger version of these Condor photos can be viewed by using a mouse rollover or using the Slideshow below. See all TheWorldinLight has to offer at Destinations and Topics.


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photo of the Colca Canyon in Peru
Cruz del Condor #0705
Cruz del Condor is a viewing site for the Andean Condor. It's perfectly situated above Condor nests located on the sheer cliff below the viewing site. The site also offers spectacular views up and down as well as deep into the canyon.

close-up photo of an Andean Condor in flight
Condor #1508
Sometimes the condors fly so closely by that you can hear the wind in their wings.

a condor in colca canyon
Andean Condor #0731
Frequently, around 8AM, the Condors ride thermal updrafts from their nesting sites to the rim of the canyon. They often pass within a mere few meters of the people at the viewing sites.

an andean condor soaring over the Colca Canyon
Condor #1527
Andean Condors nest on sheer cliffs below Cruz del Condor in the Colca Canyon of Peru.

photo of an Andean Condor in Peru
Condor #1528
Condors soar over the canyon searching for carion.

a condor at cruz-del-condor in peru
Condor #1529
Andean Condors can live to 50 to 70 years old.

photo of an andean condor in clouds over the colca canyon
Condor #1573
Andean Condors reach sexual maturity at five to six years of age. They mate for life.

Andean Condors catch thermals rising from the Colca 

Canyon - perhaps the deepest canyon in the world
Condor #0727
Cruz del Condor is located with Peru's Reserval Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca. Admission is carefully controlled and costs S/35.00 - roughly $11 as of early 2009.

this is Cruz-del-Condor - 'THE' place to 

watch Andean Condors in the Colca Canyon of Peru
Colca Overlook #0556
The Colca Canyon could be the deepest canyon in the world, with the Grand Canyon third. Cotahuasi Canyon - also in Peru - is thought by some to be the deepest.

an andean condor in the colca canyon
Condor #1539
The Condors have wing spans that can reach 10 feet. They are one of the longest living birds, with lifespans up to 50 years.

photo of the largest bird in the world, the 

andean condor
Condor #1540
Treks down into the Colca Canyon are popular. They begin at Cabanaconde, a town located at the edge of the canyon.

photo of a condor soaring above the clouds in Peru
Condor #1543
The Colca Canyon begins as a lush, deep-green valley that gradually narrows and deepens, cut by the raging Colca River.

an andean condor soaring over the magnificent scenery 

of the colca canyon in Peru
Condor #0734
The Andean Condor is part of the vulture family. As such, its major diet consists of carrion.

a sheer peak rising from the edge of the Colca Canyon
One Peak #0682
This is one peak that rises up from the sheer cliff on the opposite side of the canyon from Cruz del Condor.

an andean condor flying above the clouds, both 

below the rim of the world's deepest canyon
Condor and Clouds #0774
The Andean Condor has long been part of South American folklore, often considered a symbol of strength and health.

photo of an andean condor, the bird with the world's 

largest wingspan
Condor #1545
The adult Andean Condor is black with a large, white ring of feathers at the base of the neck.

condor with wingtips extended like fingertips
Condor #1546
Although primarily a scavenger of large dead animals such as deer, llamas, or alpacas, the Andean Condor will resort to attacks on living animals when carion cannot be found.

photo of an andean condor against the clouds
Condor #1562
The Andean Condor is revered throughout Peru and much of South America.

photo of a condor with the Andes Mountains 

in the background
Condor and Mountains #0769
The Condors will sometimes fly so closely past the people watching that the whistle of the wind through the Condor's wings can be heard.

an andean condor perched on a cliff at the edge of 

the colca canyon
Condor Perched #0745
The Condors will occasionally perch near the top of the canyon nearby to the people there.

andean condors soaring in clouds
Condors in Clouds #0695
Colca Canyon is so deep it is not unusual to be looking down into clouds that drift between the walls on either side.

an andean condor soaring past viewers at the cruz-del-condor 

site at the colca canyon
Condor #1565
The Andean Condor has the largest wingspan of any bird on earth. Here, one soars past viewers at the Cruz-del-Condor site at the edge of the Colca Canyon.

a condor flying over the edge of the colca canyon
Condor #1570
The Andean Condor nests at elevations above 3,000 meters on sheer cliff walls.

a close-up photo of the andean condor
Condor #1572
Unlike birds of prey, the Andean Condor does not have talons that are effective as weapons of attack. Their feet are more adapted to walking and resemble those of a chicken.

photo of a condor with the cliffs of the 

colca canyon in the background
Condors and Clouds #0731
Condors rarely flap their wings, but rather, soar upon the thermal updrafts that occur at the cliffs where they nest.

an andean condor flying overhead
Condor #1592
Female Andean Condors will lay one or two eggs every second year.

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