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Majestic condor soars elegantly over the Andes!

Updated on March 13, 2012
Andean condor soaring high over the mountains!
Andean condor soaring high over the mountains!

Distribution of Andean Condor

Map of distribution of the Andean condor in the Americas. Picture - National Geographic
Map of distribution of the Andean condor in the Americas. Picture - National Geographic

El condor and movies

Three Days of the Condor is a 1975 American action film, which was directed by Sydney Pollack, starring Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway. The film was nominated for the 1976 Academy Award for Film Editing and it also received an Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay.

Right: Three days of the condor, a film directed by Sydney Pollack, starring Robert Redford & Faye Dunaway.

Andean condor: world's biggest flying bird

Andean condor in Colca Canyon

Description

Andean condors are the largest flying birds in the Western Hemisphere.

Although slightly shorter than the Californian Condor, the Andean Condor is larger in wingspan (ranging from 280 to 320 cm (9.2 to 10.5 ft) and also heavier, with a maximum weight of 11 to 15 kg (24 to 33 lb) for males and 6 to 14 kg (13 to 31 lbs) for females.

Feathers of the adult condor are black, with the exception of a frill of white surrounding the base of the neck. Males have large patches of white on their wings, while the head and neck are red or black-red, with only a few feathers. The head and neck are kept clean by the bird and their baldness allows the sun at high altitudes to have a sterilizing effect.

The head in the males is crowned with a dark comb, while the skin of the neck lies in folds. Their feet are more adapted to walking and of little use as weapons, like in other birds of prey.Their beak is hooked, suited for tearing rotting meat.

Habitat

The Andean Condor is found in the South AmericanAndes, ranging from Venezuela and Colombia, in the north and continuing south along the Andes past Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, through Bolivia and Argentina, to Tierra del Fuego in the south.

While using its wings, the movements of the condor are remarkably graceful as it goes around in majestic circles. It soars the Andean peaks, with its wings held horizontally, and its primary feathers bent upwards at the tips. It flaps its wings on rising from the ground, but once it attains a moderate elevation it flaps them very seldom, relying on thermals to stay in the air.

Charles Darwin observation

It is said that Charles Darwin watched them for half an hour without once observing them a flap their wings! Like the llama below, the condor appears very graceful and looks like a proud animal! soaring overhead!

The quena, traditional wind instrument of the Andes. (Photo - Wikipedia)
The quena, traditional wind instrument of the Andes. (Photo - Wikipedia)

The Quena: musical instrument

Sometimes also written kena in English, is the traditional flute, or wind instrument of the Andes.

El condor pasa - Quena music

BBC nature wildlife

El Condor Pasa
by Simon & Art Garfunkel
I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail.
Yes I would.
If I could,
I surely would.
I'd rather be a hammer than a nail.
Yes I would.
If I only could,
I surely would.
CHORUS
Away, I'd rather sail away
Like a swan that's here and gone
A man gets tied up to the ground,
he gives the earth
its saddest sound,
its saddest sound.
I'd rather be a forest than a street.

Yes I would.
If I only could,
I surely would.

I'd rather feel the earth beneath my feet,
Yes I would.
If I only could,
I surely would.

* * * * *

El Cóndor Pasa (Flight of the Condor) is a song from the zarzuela El Cóndor Pasa by the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomía Robles written in 1913 and based on traditional Andean folk tunes.

It is possibly the best-known Peruvian song worldwide due to a cover version by Simon & Garfunkel in 1970 on their Bridge Over Troubled Water album.

1925 Chilean coin, 20 centavos. Picture iOffer.com
1925 Chilean coin, 20 centavos. Picture iOffer.com
1878 coin from Bolivia. Picture Ebay.com
1878 coin from Bolivia. Picture Ebay.com

Condor in South American coins - Chile - Bolivia

The inhabitants of South America feel very proud about their typical animals, like the llama, alpaca, huanaco and vicuña, or the Andean condor flying over the Andean peaks. That is probably the reason why they don't only feature them in souvenirs, but also in stamps, coins, paper money, pottery, paintings and ceramics. That is not only happening now, mind you, but in the case of pottery, for example, it has been featuring for hundreds of years!

Condor stamp from Peru. Picture - Birdtheme.org
Condor stamp from Peru. Picture - Birdtheme.org

Condor in South American stamp - Peru

Stamps is another area where typical animals are featured.





Condor featuring prominently in Colombian bank note
Condor featuring prominently in Colombian bank note

Condor in South American coat of arms - Bolivia and Colombia

Coat of arms of Colombia with condor featuring prominently. Picture - Wikipedia
Coat of arms of Colombia with condor featuring prominently. Picture - Wikipedia
Coat of arms of Bolivia with condor featuring prominently. Picture - Wikipedia
Coat of arms of Bolivia with condor featuring prominently. Picture - Wikipedia
Baby condor serigraph by Victor Delfin. Picture - liveauctioneers.com
Baby condor serigraph by Victor Delfin. Picture - liveauctioneers.com
Condor figure in two thousand year old Nazca lines in southern Peru Picture: http://www.onagocag.com/nazca.html
Condor figure in two thousand year old Nazca lines in southern Peru Picture: http://www.onagocag.com/nazca.html

Condor also present in Nazca lines!

The condor has often featured in modern and even Pre-Inca Peruvian handcrafts, but the incredible thing is that they were also present in the Nazca lines, so there is also an aura of mystery about them!

Condor pictured in a Peruvian ceramic. Picture: peruandarts.com
Condor pictured in a Peruvian ceramic. Picture: peruandarts.com
Condor pictured in a Peruvian ceramic. Picture: peruandarts.com
Condor pictured in a Peruvian ceramic. Picture: peruandarts.com
Condor pictured in a Peruvian ceramic. Picture: peruandarts.com
Condor pictured in a Peruvian ceramic. Picture: peruandarts.com

Comments

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    • sylvia13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Gadea de Beer 

      7 years ago from Shoal Bay, NSW, Australia

      Thanks for your comment! The condor are surely amazing and elegant creatures!

    • BL Tween profile image

      BL Tween 

      7 years ago

      Yes, God has made some amazing creatures!

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