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


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


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 according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN).

Also see distribution map from USFWS.

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