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Taronga's Andean Condor chick ventures out on display
Taronga's Andean Condor chick ventures out on display

It’s been six months in the making, but our Andean Condor chick has finally started to join proud parents, Bruce and Connie on display.

Generally a young bird would leave the nest much sooner, for instance, a budgie or a finch would leave the nest and be full-flighted within three weeks. For a condor, this process is not so much a sprint, but a marathon.

Although it will be a while before our chick starts trying to fly, she is fully grown and about the same size as mother Connie. There are still a few differences between mother and daughter though, as these birds remain in a juvenile feather condition for approximately the first 7-8 years of life.

Adult Andean Condors are primarily black, with a white ruff of feathers around their neck, and white patches on their wings. Young condors are uniformly brown until reaching sexual maturity.

There are a few theories as to why this is so; one is that it lets other condors know whether they are ready to breed or not. Another is that younger condors have fewer life skills, so adults are more likely to go easier on them at a carcass site and not just chase them off.

Another change that our young girl will go through is that her eyes will become deep red at the same time that her feathers change colour. Again this helps other birds recognise they’re completely grown up, and is a very striking feature of an adult female.

Our chick is still yet-to-be named, but we are currently running a competition on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re feeling inspired please suggest a name. You never know your suggestion might be the one that gets picked!

Until a name is chosen though, come and catch a glimpse of our chick.

She isn’t spending much time on display, as when she comes out is entirely up to her, but if you’d like to try your luck I’d very much recommend it. Our Andean Condors only lay an egg every two years, so it may be a long time before you get another chance.

- Bird Show Keeper, Brendan Host

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