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Rarest Bird of Prey
Only 61 Californian condors, most of which were bred in captivity, exist in the wild, with about 99 in captivity as of April 2000. The Californian Condor population in the wild dwindled to just 9 birds in 1985. The last remaining bird in the wild was captured in 1987 in an attempt to protect the species. Californian Condors had a high mortality rate due to collisions with power poles. Condors scheduled to be released to the wild now undergo power pole aversion training. Mock power poles are used which deliver a small electrical shock to the birds when they try to land on them.

Heaviest Bird of Prey
Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) are black, with a white ruff around their necks, and white patches on their wings. The males have brown eyes, the females are red, and both have excellent eyesight. Due to their blunt claws and strong beaks, these birds are scavengers and therefore eat rotting animals. Originally found in the Andes mountains in South America, they are now listed as endangered spices and can live up to 75 years in captivity.  Despite the fact they are extraordinarily heavy, Andean condors can reach amazing heights in areas with strong winds. They generally have a wingspan of around 10 ft and thus an enormous wing surface which enables them to soar to great heights.

Highest Flying Bird
The highest altitude recorded for a bird is 37,000 ft., for a Ruppell’s vulture (Gyps rueppellii), which collided with a commercial aircraft over Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on November 29, 1973.

Fastest Land Bird
Despite weighing a massive 300 lb, standing a mighty 8 ft tall, and only having only two toes on each foot, the ostrich (Struthio camelus) can shoot across the African savannah at up to 45 mph, making it the fastest bird on land. There are 10 species of flightless birds, including ostrich, emu, rhea, and kiwi. They never leave the ground because their smooth breastbones do not have a "keel", which supports flight muscles.  Ostriches' legs are incredibly strong, and these birds will always defend themselves feet first. According to some experts, an angry ostrich can kick a hole in a car door!

Deepest Dive by a Bird
The deepest dive accurately measured for any bird is 1,584 ft, by an emperor penguin, (Aptenodytes forsteri), in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, in 1990. The longest known dive is 18 minutes, made by an emperor penguin at Cape Crozier, Antarctica in 1969. Birds that are adapted to swimming and diving in the sea, such as penguins, propel themselves through the water by means of their blade-like wings. Penguins have lost the power flight altogether. Emperor penguins breed and raise their young in the freezing environment of Antarctica. As soon as it laid, the single egg is entrusted to the male, who, huddling together with thousands of his fellows, cradles it in a cozy nook between his feet and his warm feathered belly. Feeding out at sea for the whole two-month incubation period, the female finally returns to relieve her mate, allowing him to head off in search of food.  

Fastest Dive by a Bird
The fastest dive by a bird was recorded in a series of German experiments, when a peregrine falcon reached a velocity of 168 mph at a 30-degree angle of stoop, rising to a maximum of 217 mph at an angle of 45 degrees. This falcon, also known as a duck hawk, ‘stoops’ by circling high up and then folds its wings back to dive at prey with their talons.

Largest Bird
The largest living bird is the North African ostrich. Male examples of this flightless sub-species have been recorded up to 9 ft tall and weighing 345 lb. Despite its size, the ostrich is also the fastest bird on land – it can run up to 45 mph when necessary.

Largest Bird Egg
The heaviest egg on record weighed 5 lb 2 oz and was laid in June, 1997, at Datong Xinda ostrich farm, Datong, Shanxi, China.

Smallest Bird Egg
An egg laid on October 5, 1998, by a posture canary of the German Crested variety measured 0.275 inch in length, 0.2 inch in diameter and weighed 0.0009 oz . The bird was owned by M.J de Rijck of Heijen, The Netherlands.

Largest Bird's Nest
The largest bird's nest was built by bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) near St Petersburg, Florida, USA. It measured 9 ft 6 in wide and 20 ft deep, weighing more than 2 tons.

Largest Bird's Wingspan
The largest wingspan of any bird of a living species was that of a male wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) of the southern oceans, with a span of 11 ft 11 in.

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