Andean condors are among the largest flying birds, with a body weight of 20-25 lbs. and a wingspan of over 10 feet. They are mostly black with large white patches on their wings and the distinctive bald head for which vultures are known. Condors have no feathers on their heads to allow the birds to feed on carrion without getting their heads too dirty -- after a meal, condors can frequently be seen wiping their heads on the ground to clean themselves off. The Andean condor is the only New World vulture that shows obvious differences between males and females. Males have dark eyes and a fleshy crest on their heads, while females have bright red eyes and lack the crest. Andean condors may live 50 years or longer. The National Aviary is home to a female Andean condor, named Lianni.
Although they are long-lived, Andean condors reproduce slowly and are vulnerable to poisoning (both accidental and intentional) and other human factors. Since 1989, over 60 of these spectacular birds have been hatched and reared in U.S. zoos and released in the remote regions of the Colombian Andes, including a male chick that was hatched at the National Aviary in 2003, named “Kendall”. The National Aviary also hatched a female chick, Kachina, in 2007. She is currently part of the breeding program at another zoo.