why do California condors have bald heads?

California Condors, like other vultures and New World vultures, have bald heads for several evolutionary adaptations that are crucial to their scavenging lifestyle:

Hygiene: Feeding primarily on carrion (dead animals), California Condors often stick their heads deep into carcasses to tear off and eat the meat. A bald head makes it easier to keep clean, as feathers would otherwise trap bacteria and decaying matter, which could lead to infections.

Thermoregulation: Bald heads help the birds regulate their body temperature more efficiently. In hot climates, the lack of feathers allows the skin on their heads to release heat more readily, keeping the bird cooler. Conversely, when it’s cold, the condor can conserve heat by tucking its head under its body feathers.

These adaptations enable California Condors to thrive in their ecological niche as scavengers in a variety of habitats, from deserts to forests, and to survive in close proximity to decomposing flesh without contracting diseases.

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