The most long-lived bird

Determining the age of birds is a very difficult process. Today we can speak only about approximate data obtained with the help of ornithological studies, of course, relative to wild birds. But more likely to call the long-lived bird still can is the Andean Condor, a large predator that lived exactly 75 years!


In 1892 this bird was brought to the Moscow Zoological garden. At that time, the male Condor was present all the signs of a Mature bird, so it is for certain his age was never determined. He was given the loving nickname «Kuzma», which Condor has lived in the zoo of 69. The fact that young Andean condors to a 4-year life there adult plumage, and allowed, in the end, guess his approximate age at the time of death.

Long Condor «Kuzya» kept in solitude. And later it «settled» a female, which brought one chick. Unfortunately, because of illness soon chick, and the female was killed, and Condor «Kuzma» to the end of life was left alone in his cage.

The Andean Condor – the problem of survival

Today, Andean condors belong to rare and endangered species of birds. In 1996, studies were conducted in California, found the number of individuals in the amount of only 120 pieces, and, unfortunately, measures to revive their former populations do not give the desired effect


The Andean Condor is one of the largest birds. It weighs 11.5 kg, and the wingspan is as much as 3.5 meters. With such impressive dimensions, condors, however, are a great aeronauts. In addition, they have incredibly keen eyesight and sense of smell, and can distinguish their prey, soaring up to 4500 meters. This bird is different and their impressive appearance: the plumage of the resinous black with characteristic white spots. There is a white collar which serves as an elegant decoration unusual head without a single pen. Males can be distinguished by a characteristic crest of red hue and meaty texture on the head. At the time of excitation of the birds can be observed, as these open areas of the skin to change its color. The bill is long, curved downwards in the shape of a hook. Thanks to him, a powerful bird movements can easily dismantle the carcass.

The habitat of these predators once stretched from Venezuela to Tierra del Fuego, in the Straits of Magellan, passing through the entire length of the South American Andes. They feed exclusively on carrion, making those lands before restrained the growth of various diseases and infections. Today, due to lack of numbers of these birds in the places of their former «reign» there is a loss of cattle and the development of infections that are dangerous to humans.


Breeding Andean condors occurs quite slowly even in captivity where the birds are provided with more comfortable conditions for life. Chicks the couple appear once in 2-3 years, so expect rapid and significant growth in their numbers is not necessary.

How is the age of the birds?

There are two ways of determining the age of birds:

  • Trace its life cycle from birth to death in captivity
  • To ring wild birds.

Neither one nor the other method can’t give a real assessment of the situation. In the first case, we have better living conditions in which birds do not have to produce their own food. However, there’s also the risk of various diseases due to the influence of such factors as not corresponding to the environment, the climate, unfamiliar food and so on.


In the second case, data are completely unreliable, since a small probability of catching the species that were ringed once. In addition, age and first caught and ringed birds is difficult to determine, so as to catch the Chicks – a task almost impossible.

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