Skip to main content
sdzglibrarybanner San Diego Zoo Global Library

California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat

Distribution

Historic distribution (Birdlife International 2015; Campbell 2015)

  • British Columbia to Baja California, east to western edge of Colorado
  • Traces of evidence of a wider distribution (D'Elia and Haig 2013)
    • Texas, Florida, New York, Mexico
  • Sharp decline during the 20th century, with increasing human habitation in western U.S.
  • Disappeared from outside California, U.S., ca. 1937

Present distribution (Birdlife International 2015)

  • Primarily southern and central California
    • San Gabriel Mountains, near Los Angeles, north through mountainous areas east of Santa Cruz
  • Arizona
  • Occasional sightings in other western U.S. states
    • Utah
    • Colorado
    • Wyoming
  • Baja California, Mexico

Habitat

Vegetation and terrain (Rivers et al. 2014b; Birdlife International 2015; Finkelstein et al. 2015a, and as noted)

  • California Condors possess broad habitat and climate tolerances
  • Open or semi-open grasslands and woodlands
  • Rocky, open scrubland
  • Coniferous and deciduous forests
  • Oak savanna
  • Seashores and coastal dunes of the Pacific Coast (Rivers et al. 2014b; Campbell 2015)
    • Historically important habitat
    • Gradually being used by recolonizing birds
  • Nesting sites
    • Cliffs
    • Rocky outcrops
    • Large trees

Elevation range

  • 450-2,000 m (1,476-6,562 ft) (Birdlife International 2015)

Habitat needs

  • Open space for foraging (D'Elia and Haig 2013)
  • High perches for launching flight (D'Elia and Haig 2013)
  • Wind for soaring flight (Rivers et al. 2014b)
  • Nesting sites for breeding (see Reproduction)

California Condor Distribution

CA condor distribution as of 2017

California Condor Distribution
Adapted from www.d-maps.com according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN).

Also see distribution map from USFWS.

SDZG Library Links