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King of air

King of air
Photo Information
Copyright: Heinz Koloska (wallhalla15) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1767 W: 58 N: 3350] (13829)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-06
Categories: Birds
Camera: Fujifilm Finepix S7000, Fujifilm 1,5 X Tele Conversions Lens
Exposure: f/5.7, 1/294 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2006-06-29 15:34
Viewed: 3660
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus)

The condor is the largest vulture in South America. It has a wing span of up to 10 feet and more. Male condors can weigh 24 to 33 pounds, and females from 18 to 24 pounds. It has mostly black feathers, with white flight feathers on its wing. Head feathers would get dirty when they ate, so their heads and necks are naked like most vultures. The skin on the head and throat hang in lose folds, and is reddish-black, with a fleshy wattle over the beak, called a caruncle. Condors can soar to altitudes of 18,000 feet, and to keep their heads warm at that height they tuck them into a downy, white neck ruff.

Condors can live up to 50 years, and mate for life. The female will lay her egg on a cliff ledge. Because there aren't any trees or other materials to build a nest with where they live they lay their egg on bare rock. Both parents take turns incubating the egg. They have one chick every other year. Their young take a lot of time and effort to raised. They can't fly until they are 6 months old and then rely on their parents for two more years.

Andean condors roost on the face of a cliff, and use the thermal updraft of warm morning air to lift off. They spend most of the day soaring on the updrafts created by the mountains and valleys. They cover a large area while foraging. Andean condors can be found over the coasts of Peru and Chile, and the Patagonian steppe of Argentina. They can spot a carcass from several miles off. Usually they follow smaller scavenger birds to find a carcass. This helps both scavengers, because only the condor can tear through the tough hides of some carcasses. The older condors get to eat first, and then the younger ones take turns in order of age. Condors feed mostly on the remains of mammals such as sheep, llama, vicuña, cattle, seals and the eggs of seabirds. Sometimes they will take newborn animals.

The Andean condor has a long life, but breeds very slowly. It takes them 6 to 8 years before they become mature. Any interference from humans quickly disturbs their pattern of breeding. Hunters kill the condor for sport, and farmers kill them because they think condors kill their animals. Because they mate for life, the death of a mate is very hard on the other partner and their chick. Condors have also died recently from pesticides that have been carried through the food chains. The number of Andean condors has gone down rapidly in recent years, but they still aren't on the official endangered list. Rescue attempts have been made through breeding captive condors and habitat research. These efforts have been moderately successful.

- pictured Birds park Heiligenkirchen -

dew77, Janice, Dando, Silke, PDP, joeydrops, marhowie, TAZ, thor68 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-06-29 15:50]

Hello Heinz,
Excellent portrait.POV,details,sharpness,colors,expression on face are wonderful.Well caught,framed and composed.TFS...:-)

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-06-29 16:12]

Heinz - what a 'beauty'!!! The white scarf around his neck is outstanding, but he is very strange looking. A little soft, but it is a good composition, and very interesting to see, thank you

  • Great 
  • Dando Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 637 W: 32 N: 792] (3084)
  • [2006-06-29 16:41]

Hi Heinz, great to see you back. I hope evrything went well. Excellent portrait. Great details with good exposed colours. Also good lighting and POV. A tad soft around the eye but still a great shot. Well done and TFS.

Good portrait Heinz,

A bit rushed tonight, just time for a quick visit.
Well worth a big :)

Thanks for posting, have a great weekend.

  • Great 
  • Silke Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 729 W: 98 N: 1707] (5458)
  • [2006-06-29 19:03]

Hallo Heinz,
Considering how beautiful they look in the air, they sure are anything but on the ground! Of course being scavengers, the head without feathers is necessary for cleanliness.
Nonetheless, this is a fabuolous character shot: well-composed, perfect lighting, DOF and colour. You are living up to your reputation, it seems.
Best regards

Hi Heinz,
Wow! Superb shot! It's amazing to see the details of this bird close up. That's incredible that their wingspan is up to 10 feet or more. Good colours and pose. Well seen and captured!

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-06-30 3:39]

Hello Heinz,
What an amazing looking bird. I have never seen one of these before, so thank you for introducing it to me. We have very endangered California condors here, but they have a gray head and no crest.
You captured this one with perfect focus and exposure. I also like the profile presentation. I certainly would not want to be at the business end of that massive beak.
A very interesting post. TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2006-06-30 5:02]

Hello Heinz, very nice portrait. I think a little more room in front of the bird may have been good. The details and colours are great though, well done.

Hello Heinz,
Nice sharp detail, excellent color, DOF, and exposure mf. Great shot!
Well done and Thank You!

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2006-06-30 12:50]

It is an excellent portrait that you have well done ! But the bird is not a playboy for me :-)) Great details in its skin.
Congratulations Heinz and thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • osse Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 955 W: 0 N: 89] (7805)
  • [2006-07-01 4:56]

Hi Heinz
Great portrait of this condor. Looks very majestic. good colours, details, sharpnes, light, DOF and POV.
Well done Heinz


was für ein eindrucksvolles und ausdrucksstarkes portrait des königs der lüfte, heinz! :-)
die details sind wirklich einmalig:
beim erhabenen blick fängt es an, dann sind da die einzelnen
falten der verschiedenen hautlappen, der große schnabel
und der weiße "pelzkragen".
perfect job & alles gute, thorsten.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2006-07-02 22:17]

Hello Heinz

What beauty in such an unattractive face.Beautiful portrait of this condor.You have captured it's majestic side.Wonderful colour and DOF.TFS


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