Home Condors
Hopper Mountain NWR Complex Title Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes NWR linik Bitter Creek NWR link Blue Ridge NWR link Hopper Mountain NWR link
Breeding, feeding and social hierarchy
Male condor 107 photo M Concepcion. condors feeding on a calf carcass photo USFWS
On the left, male condor 107 is the dominant bird of the southern California flock. Hatched 04/29/94, he is twelve years old.
Condors are observed when they feed as this is when the social hierarchy is the most evident. The more dominant birds will usually feed first and will displace the younger, lower status birds.
Two condors in courtship behavior, photo M Concepcion. Male 100 displays to female 108, photo  J Behrens.
During courtship, the male will display to the female. He will spread his wings, arch his neck and generally try to impress her with his size. His head and neck will become bigger and redder. If the female is receptive she will lower her head and become submissive. The courtship behaviors will often continue in the air with the pair flying in tandem.
California condors become sexually mature at approximately six years of age. The pair above is unusual because the female (155) was not quite five years old when they pair bonded. They successfully bred, laid an egg and hatched a chick in 2002. Condors mate for life.
California condor nest in a giant sequoia tree photo USFWS
Condor at a nest cave Photo USFWS
California condors usually nest in caves, but in the eighties a pair nested in a giant sequoia tree.
Condors 108 and 100 and their chick, photo M Wallace First chick at five months, photo C West

This is a photo of the chick at five months of age shortly before it was found dead. There were three chicks hatched in the wild in Spring of 2002, all died just short of fledging (first flight). One chick died from ingesting items such as bottle caps and plastic shards that littered the cave. The trash could have been brought into the cave by condors or ravens over the years. The cause of death to the other two chicks remain unknown.

The first chick to be laid and hatched in the wild in 18 years was hatched on 11 April 2002. The parents are seen here with the chick shortly after hatching. The male condor 100 went missing in September of that year.