Photo by Mike Faix.

The National Aviary

On permanent display
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The National Aviary just became the only accredited zoo in North America to exhibit two pairs of Andean Condors, not to mention also managing the endangered raptor for breeding as part of an important international reintroduction program. On June 19 at 10 a.m., The National Aviary marked the official public opening of Condor Court with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony and an introduction to the new exhibit.

Photo by Mike Faix.

Among the largest flying birds, with a body weight of 20-25 pounds and an impressive wingspan of more than 10 feet, the massive black Vultur gryphus (aka the Andean condor) sports a ruff of white feathers surrounding the base of its neck. A national symbol for many South American countries, the Andean Condor plays a significant role in the folklore and mythology of Andean regions, and is currently facing severe threats as an endangered species.

With the decline of the Andean Condor in Ecuador reaching critical levels—less than 50 remain in the wild—The National Aviary has established a vital reintroduction program that will enable future chicks hatched right here in Pittsburgh to be released into the wild. Teaming up with a zoo in Cuenca, Ecuador, the Aviary is unveiling one of the world’s largest Andean Condor exhibits and breeding programs, as well as a veterinary clinic.

Photo by Robert S. Mulvihill.

Visitors to Condor Court will see all four of these massive birds of prey up close via large glass viewing panels.

Providing an expansive outdoor home for endangered Andean Condors, the new enclosure features a 20-foot rock façade with ledges, nesting caves and a reflecting pool—all designed to mimic the birds’ natural habitat in Ecuador. A heated shift house will aid in breeding management and will provide access to nests without disturbing the birds.

AndeanCondor male_750
Photo by The National Aviary.

At the Aviary’s new educational conservation station, bird lovers can learn all about about Andean Condors, discover what it’s like to conduct field research in the Andes Mountains and read more about the Aviary’s ongoing efforts to protect this spectacular species.

New additions to Condor Court will also include Liberty, a Bald Eagle, a pair of African Pygmy Falcons and a pair of Cabot’s Tragopans.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.