California Condor Gymnogyps californianus


Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- C2a(i); D C2a(i); D1

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2020 Critically Endangered C2a(i); D
2018 Critically Endangered C2a(i);D
2017 Critically Endangered C2a(i);D
2016 Critically Endangered C2a(i);D
2015 Critically Endangered C2a(i);D
2013 Critically Endangered C2a(i);D
2012 Critically Endangered C2a(i);D
2010 Critically Endangered D1
2009 Critically Endangered D1
2008 Critically Endangered
2006 Critically Endangered
2004 Critically Endangered
2000 Critically Endangered
1996 Critically Endangered
1994 Critically Endangered
1988 Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Medium
Land mass type Land-mass type - continent
Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 405,000 medium
Number of locations 2-5 -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 93 good observed 2020
Population trend Increasing good estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations 3 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 18.57 - - -

Population justification: There are currently 201 adults in the wild that are old enough to breed (age 5 and older), and 93 have produced viable offspring. Twenty-three wild birds turned five years old in 2019 and 17 more will turn five years old in 2020.  A total of 141 wild birds are 8 years old or older, the observed average age of productivity (i.e. producing young when greater than or equal to eight years of age). Since mature individuals (as defined by IUCN) only includes individuals in the wild that are currently capable of reproduction, and re-introduced individuals must have produced viable offspring before they are counted as mature individuals, the current global population sensu IUCN is 93 mature individuals as of March 2020 (USFWS California Condor Recovery Program, unpublished data).

Trend justification: Wilbur (1978) states that the vulture population during the period 1920-1950 numbered more than 70 birds. Today, owing to an intensive captive-breeding and reintroduction programme, the world population comprises 518 individuals and is continuing to increase (USFWS 2019, S. Kirklank in litt. 2020). However, population growth in all three sub-populations (Arizona/Utah, California and Mexico) is currently occurring as a result of the continued release of captive bred birds as mortality currently exceeds natural recruitment into the population from wild fledged birds (USFWS 2019).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Mexico R Extant Yes
USA R Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Mexico Sierra de San Pedro Mártir
USA Marble Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs
USA Zion National Park UT20
USA Grand Canyon National Park- Raptor Migration Points
USA Big Sur
USA King City Grasslands (formerly Salinas River - Middle)
USA Santa Lucia Peaks
USA Tehachapi Mountains
USA San Emigdio Mountains

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Temperate major resident
Savanna Dry suitable resident
Shrubland Temperate suitable resident
Altitude 450 - 2000 m Occasional altitudinal limits (min) 0 m

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Persecution/control Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Unlikely to Return Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Past Impact
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Unintentional effects (species is not the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Energy production & mining Renewable energy Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) No decline Low Impact: 4
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases - West Nile Virus (WNV) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 3
Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Reduced reproductive success
Transportation & service corridors Utility & service lines Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Minority (<50%) No decline Past Impact
Species mortality

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Gymnogyps californianus. Downloaded from on 08/12/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 08/12/2022.