Friday, July 30, 2010

Condor Born in 1910 Finally Kicks the Bucket

by Stephen Messenger, Porto Alegre, Brazil

The planet is short one centenarian this week after Hector, the world's oldest condor, passed away in Algeria at the ripe old age of 100. Experts say Hector's long life was quite a feat considering that the scavenging birds generally don't live past 50. But as impressive as his longevity was, Hector's entire species of condor has a place in the record books, too, for having the longest wingspan of any land bird on the planet. Perhaps those magnificent wings came in handy as Hector slipped the surly bonds of Earth to fly towards that great rotting carcass in the sky.

According to the Algerian new agency APS, Hector died on Monday, but his history goes way back. He was brought from South America to Africa in the early part of the last century by Joseph D'Angelo, a Frenchmen who created a zoo there. Over the decades, Hector grew up to be one big bird, coming in at 33 pounds with a wingspan of over 10.5 feet.

Andean condors, like Hector, are considered the biggest flying birds in the world, as well as one of the longest-living. Typically, these condors have an impressive lifespan of about 50 years -- but Hector's days numbered far more than even more story at

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