Animal Diaries Archive
There's a New Chief in Town...
21 December 2007
The bird show team has been eagerly anticipating the arrival of our new Andean Condor who we appropriately named 'Chief'. The 11kg bundle of feathers and feet called Australia Zoo his new home last week and appears to be settling into his new enclosure very well.
There are very few Andean Condors in Australian Zoo's so it was amid much excitement that we were given this rare opportunity to work with Chief as he is only the second male condor ever to be hatched in Australia.
Chief was born in October 2006 and was raised by his parents for the first twelve months of his life. When fully grown he will weigh about 13 kilograms and his brown junior feathers will change to black with white markings on his wings and a striking white ruff around his neck. He will also develop a fleshy comb called a caruncle on the top of his head.
Andean Condors come from the Andes Mountains in South America where unfortunately they are considered endangered due to habitat destruction, but Chief has the ability to live up to and over 75 ripe old years here at the zoo because his quality of life will be very high.
Chief is considered to be one of the largest flying birds in the world and he belongs to the family of New World (American) Vultures. This means he likes to feed or scavenge on carrion or dead carcasses. He has excellent eyesight and he certainly has a huge appetite for...well, pretty much anything!
As with any new bird that joins our free flight team, he must undergo a quarantine period away from our other birds to minimize the risk of disease or cross-contamination, and he has about another 4 weeks to go until he's given the 'all-clear'. That's when the fun really starts for us and we can strengthen our bond and form a trusting relationship with him; the formula for any contented free flight show bird. We can't wait to keep you updated on his progress in the upcoming months so stay tuned for the next installment!