Rare Andean Condor Chick Hatches at National Aviary

June 7, 2019 (Pittsburgh, PA) –  A rare Andean Condor chick hatched today at the National Aviary, and viewers around the world can now see the chick being cared for by its parents, Lianni and Lurch, via live-streaming web cam at https://www.aviary.org/condor-nest-cam.

This is the first Andean Condor to chick hatch at the National Aviary since 2007, and is currently the only Andean Condor chick to hatch this year at an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoo in North America.

                The downy, greyish white chick, which is approximately the size of a grapefruit, hatched this morning around 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The chick is tucked inside a nesting cave in the National Aviary’s Condor Court habitat. As it grows and matures, visitors will be able to see it in the cave and eventually, at around 10-11 weeks old, see the chick begin to venture out into the surrounding habitat. The chick will reach full size in six to eight months.

                “Like all newly hatched chicks, Andean Condor chicks are very fragile,” says Kurt Hundgen, Director of Animal Collections at the National Aviary. “These first 48 hours are a critical time, and will tell us a lot about the chick’s overall well-being. We will be monitoring the chick and parents closely to ensure things are going well and that the parents provide the best possible chance for success.” Viewers can get updates on the chick’s growth and care on the condor nest cam web page.

                “This is a much celebrated arrival for us and for the species, as Andean Condor populations face many pressures in the wild,” says National Aviary Executive Director Cheryl Tracy.  Our team worked collaboratively to create the Condor Court habitat and an ongoing breeding and field conservation program to ensure that Andean Condors thrive.  This new chick is an affirmation of our team’s hard work, and we couldn’t be more delighted.”

                Since male and female condors have physical differences, staff expects to have an indication of the chick’s gender within a week.  Male Andean Condors have a crest on the top of their bald heads and a waddle on their necks, while females do not. The chick already has the distinctive “bald” head that is characteristic of condors, an adaptation that is thought to make it easier for these birds to keep their heads clean when consuming carrion.

                The National Aviary participates in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Andean Condor Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a collaborative breeding program designed to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse and demographically stable population of condors for generations into the future.  The National Aviary also conducts field conservation projects in Ecuador to study and support wild condor populations and consults with zoo partners in Ecuador and surrounding countries to provide information and support on husbandry and breeding best practices for Andean Condors in zoo settings.

                The chick will be parent raised at the National Aviary until it’s full grown. It may stay at the National Aviary permanently to be paired with a mate, or go on to another AZA-accredited zoo at some point in the future to support the Species Survival Plan.

“It’s very important that the chick live with other condors to learn behavioral skills and for socialization purposes, says Hundgen, “and we have the space here to support that interaction and learning. Guests can now get an inside look at the parents caring for the chick on our nest cam, and  visit Condor Court throughout the coming months to watch the interactions develop.”

                Andean Condors are the world’s largest flighted bird, boasting a wingspan of approximately 10 feet. These massive vultures nest on cliffs and typically lay one egg a year. Condors feed on the carcasses of dead animals, helping to prevent the spread of germs and disease in the environment.

                The National Aviary’s Andean Condor breeding program is part of a global effort to save Andean Condors, which are threatened throughout much of their range and critically endangered in Ecuador. Condor Court was renovated in 2015 to create a habitat that mimics cliffs of the High Andes mountain regions where Andean Condors live and nest. Caves and other features were built to create an environment conducive to successful breeding. Lianni has produced four chicks prior to this new chick.  Three were released into the wild in Columbia to help boost their wild populations, and the other lives in a conservation center in Florida.


                The public is invited to watch the chick at http://aviary.org/condor-nest-cam . For photos, updates and exclusive content, follow the National Aviary on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube .


About the National Aviary

The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds. Located on Pittsburgh’s historic North Side, the National Aviary’s diverse collection comprises 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The National Aviary’s large walk-through habitats create an intimate, up-close interaction between visitors and free-flying birds, including opportunities to hand-feed and to meet many species rarely found in zoos. Hours of operation are 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily. For admission rates and more information visit www.aviary.org.

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