Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

California Condor Count Information

The California Condor Recovery Program has been reporting condor population information since 2003. This information provides detailed accounts of how many California condors are located in the wild and captivity, as well as their geographic location, among other information.

Beginning in 2015, the recovery program began producing a single population status report covering the full year. The latest of these are always made available in the recovery program's main page. Below are the archived monthly status reports from 2013 through 2014.

California Condor Population Reports

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Condor Numbering System

  • We often receive questions regarding the names (or ID's) of California condors. "What's that one's name?" "What language is it and what does it mean?" "Why did the one I saw have a number?"

    In the California Condor Recovery Program, each condor is assigned a name or identification number - the "studbook number." Biologists need a way to identify individual birds to keep track of medical histories and behavioral patterns.

    Those familiar with condors know that some condors have a name like AC-7 or AC-9. These were some of the field identifications used in the 1980's to study and monitor individual condors in the early years of the recovery program. The AC in those names stands for Adult Condor and the number indicates the order in which each bird received identification. For example, AC-7 means "Adult Condor #7", the seventh condor to be given wing tags and a radio transmitter. The only exception to this loose rule is Tama-Yawut. Tama was a wild condor in the 1980's that was known by a name instead of an AC designation.

    Photo/USFWSBut regardless of whether a condor is known by a name or a number at any particular breeding facility or release site, all condors are given a studbook number. This identification number supercedes any local names or IDs by which the bird may be known and it allows biologists and researchers to ensure accurate historical recordkeeping regarding individual birds.

    The studbook keeper assigns the studbook number when he or she first receives all of the current year's breeding information on all newly hatched birds from all of the breeding facilities and release sites. The numbers are issued chronologically; so the larger number indicates a younger bird.

    When you see a condor flying in the wild, look for the number printed on its wing tags. The number will either be the last one or two digits of its studbook number. For example, a wing tag that reads "19" will indicate that the bird is either Condor #19, #119, #219, #319, or #419. The color of the tag determines whether the number is in the 200, 300 or 400 series, and so on.