Gallery of Wing Tags

Overview

This page displays a variety of wing tags to better familiarize you with the ways in which fonts, colors, and patterns can appear in photos. We have tried to gather examples from many different lighting conditions and angles, including photos that volunteers indicated were confusing on the Talk pages. We will continue to add to this gallery as volunteers comment on photos.

As you will see from the examples, the colors on the actual wing tags do not necessarily match the colors on the Condor Watch entry form.
tag form

Below are the most common wing tag colors you will see. On the bottom of the black tags, you can see the dots referred to on the classification page. For individuals that wear dotted tags, the number of dots indicates the hundreds digit of their ID number. Most of the dotted tags are black with white numbers.

VWS examples

Old wing tags used by Ventana Wildlife Society. Photo courtesy of VWS http://www.ventanaws.org/species_condors_fieldnotes/2011.htm

 


Black

Black tags are very common. They always have white numbers. They sometimes have dots or underlines. Only black tags have underlines.

Some examples of black tags are:

black looks a bit blue crop

Black30, 3 dots

D.Smith_adult

Black13, 3 dots

black51

Black51

white looks orange

Black25Underline

 

Red

Red tags are common. They always have white numbers (this can be useful for distinguishing red tags from orange tags). A few red tags have dots.

Some examples of red tags are:

Red7

Red7

Red90

Red90

Another view of Red7

Another view of Red7

 

Orange

Orange tags are uncommon. They always have black numbers, and none has dots. They were only used at the Southern California release sites (we will do a future blog post on the different release sites and you will likely start to recognize each locale in photos).

The only orange wing tag numbers are:

  • 21 (Bird=21)
  • 56 (Bird=156)
  • 63 (Bird=63)
  • 79 (Bird=79)
  • 98 (Bird=98)

Here are some examples:

orange2

Orange98

Orange63

Orange63

Good contrast of red tag (left) and orange tag (right)

Good contrast of red tag (left, Red61) and orange tag (right, Orange79)

 

White

White tags are common. They always have black numbers. In 2008, a few white tags had dots.

Some examples of white tags are:

W77W78

Both visible tags are white (77 and 78)

white31

White31

 

Yellow

Yellow tags are common. They always have black numbers. In 2006-2008, a few yellow tags had dots.

Some examples of yellow tags are:

Yellow6

Yellow6

Yellow62

Yellow62 (with Blue28)

Good example of yellow and white in same photo

Good contrast of Yellow (on left, 6) and White (on right, 49)

Good contrast of Yellow (on left, 16) and White (on right, 80)

Good contrast of Yellow (on left, 16) and White (on right, 80)

 

Green 

Green tags are extremely uncommon. In fact, for the dates of our photos, green only appeared in 2008 and only on one condor: condor 156. Her green tag had a 56 on it with 1 dot. Let us know if you see this tag and we will add it here!

 

Blue

Blue tags are somewhat uncommon. They are a bit confusing because they can have black or white numbers. In 2008, one blue tag had a dot (61).

The only blue wing tag numbers are:

  • 11 (Bird=311), black or white numbers (has worn both tag types)
  • 18 (Bird=318), white numbers [note this one was left off of earlier versions of the gallery)
  • 26 (Bird=326), black numbers
  • 28 (Bird=328), black numbers
  • 60 (Bird=360)
  • 61 (Bird=161)
  • 64 (Bird=364), white numbers
  • 65 (Bird = 365), black numbers
  • 69 (Bird=369)
  • 70 (Bird=370)
  • 74 (Bird=374)
  • 75 (Bird=375)
  • 96 (Bird=596), white numbers
  • 97 (Bird=397)

Here are some examples of blue tags:

Blue96

Blue96

Blue11

Blue11

Blue64, photo courtesy of Ventana Wildlife Society

Blue64, photo courtesy of Ventana Wildlife Society

2blues

Great example of the 2 different blue colors you might see: Blue28 on the far left and Blue96 on the far right (also visible are Purple4, Black60, and White80)

Bird on left has purple tag. Bird on right has blue tag

Bird on left has purple tag. Bird on right has blue tag

 

Purple

Purple tags are somewhat uncommon. They always have white numbers, and none has dots. They only appear on in 2012 and 2013 photos.

The only purple wing tag numbers are:

  • 4   (Bird=604)
  • 15 (Bird=615)
  • 16 (Bird=616)
  • 25 (Bird=625)
  • 27 (Bird=627)
  • 30 (Bird=630)
  • 31 (Bird=631)
  • 46 (Bird=646)
  • 50 (Bird=650)
  • 52 (Bird=652)
  • 63 (Bird=663)
  • 64 (Bird=664)

Here are some examples of purple tags:

purple5

Purple25

purple4

Purple4

 


Many at once

A wide range of wing tag colors can be seen in this photo:

A wide range of wing tag colors can be seen in this photo: Yellow62, Orange63, Black99, Red47, Yellow14, and Purple30

A wide range of wing tag colors can be seen in this photo:
Yellow62, Orange63, Black99, Red47, Yellow14, and Purple30

 


 

Other

Finally, there are a very few oddball tags that don’t fit the normal pattern. One is the tag worn by 514 during part of 2010, which reads A4, but can look very much like 44 at certain angles. Here are some examples:

A4cropped1

BlackA4

BlackA4

BlackA4

There is also a black underlined tag with V1 on it in 2008-2010, a white tag with 3FW on it in 2009, and a black tag with 2 huya on it in 2008-2009. Let us know if you see any of those!

V1 has been found by eagle-eyed Condor Watcher miltonbosch. Kudos!

Update: V1 has been found by eagle-eyed Condor Watcher miltonbosch. Kudos!

 

43 responses to “Gallery of Wing Tags”

  1. Barbara Barlett says :

    Green 2 is at Esalen at Big Sur today, 8/17/15 being harassed by seagulls. He is roosting in a tree on the property for the night. Has been here since about noon.

  2. C Blackwell says :

    We were out on our property planting palm trees today. We saw a condor with a white tag with what we thought was #10? We were very excited to see this bird. It was flying around for a long time. I hoped it would come back so I could get a picture. It came so close as if wanting food. Riverside CA near Lake Matthews.

    • Vickie Bakker says :

      Exciting and interesting. We would love to see a photo if you get another chance. There isn’t a white 10 tag. The only white tags that might look a bit like a 10 are 80, worn by bird 480, a male who hatched in 2008 or 40, worn by bird 740, a male who hatched in 2014.

  3. C Blackwell says :

    We were out on our property planting palm trees today. We saw a condor with a white tag with what we thought was #10? We were very excited to see this bird. It was flying around for a long time. I hoped it would come back so I could get a picture. It came so close as if wanting food. Riverside CA near Lake Matthews. 2/5/16

    • Vickie Bakker says :

      Lucky you! There is no white 10 so the ID of the bird you saw is a mystery. Perhaps white 80? Or Yellow 16 or 19 — in some lighting, yellow tags can look white. If you get another sighting and snap a photo, send it our way

  4. Debra Schrump says :

    I saw one on the Pacific Coast Highway yesterday with a yellow #8 tag. I wanted to get a picture so badly but traffic was heavy in a a construction area.

  5. Anna Emery says :

    Hello! My husband and I werected in AZ in Marble Cannon last week and we’re blessed with seeing a pair of condors #h9 and #54 ….mating pair? What an awesome site!!

    • Vickie Bakker says :

      How exciting! Our project is focused on the California population of California condors so we have more limited info on the Arizona population. However, surmising from the data we do have, you saw 354 (male, hatched 2004) and 496 (female, hatched 2008). Neither has bred yet as of 2015, but we lack info for the current season, so maybe. Or they may just be flockmates hanging out together. In any case, lucky you to see condors!

  6. Anna Emery says :

    Thank you for your response! Is there a different place we should let know abouthat them?

  7. Sherri E. says :

    I came home today to 7 of these hanging out in my yard. Keene, California
    Wish I would’ve known the tag numbers were important. I got pictures of some of them and can see the numbers. I thought they were turkey buzzards. Lol
    Wish I could post the pictures here.

  8. Ben Wielstra says :

    Today we saw three individual birds form the vista just south of Big Creek. Red 68 (I think), Yellow 8 (mentioned above) and White 48.

    • Vickie Bakker says :

      Red 68 is male 168, hatched 1997 at the LA Zoo and released in 1999. He is rarely lead poisoned. He has been a breeder since 2007 and has produced 3 chicks and fostered 1 through 2013. His mate is yellow 8, female 208, hatched in 1999, also at the LA Zoo, and released in 2000. 168 has been her only mate and they reportedly have a “happy marriage” http://www.mycondor.org/condorprofiles/condor168.html. She is occasionally lead poisoned.

    • Vickie Bakker says :

      And white 48 is male 448, hatched 2007 at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise and released in 2008. He is not yet a breeder

  9. John says :

    Are all wing tags seen in the field the “Local ID” tag number as opposed to the studbook number? Some studbook numbers overlap with the Local ID numbers which are on different condors. Are the studbook numbers only used for bookkeeping?

    • Vickie Bakker says :

      Here in California, essentially all tags display the last 2 digits of the studbook number. The tag color (or for older tags, dots or underlining) indicate the hundreds digit.

  10. c t stokes says :

    Green tag 00
    Purple tag 16
    7-16-2016
    Tehachapi ca

  11. mike sps says :

    Do you know the tag # for Topa Topa? brought into the LA Zoo?

  12. Susan Gale says :

    I saw K5 today at about 5:00 in Laguna Woods at the wall that borders the wilderness area. I did take a picture.

  13. Marjorie Colby says :

    WE were visited by a juvenile condor with a green tag # 74 10 a.m. in the Bear Valley Springs/Tehachapi area. Sept. 21, 2016. Where can I find information about this bird (#74)? We do have photos.

  14. Debby says :

    White #30 is in suburban Long Beach neighbor hood. 12 noon, Dec 3, 2016.

    • Vickie Bakker says :

      Cool to see a tagged scavenger. This is likely a turkey vulture. Condors are not known to occur this area and we don’t have a white #30 in our records. Do you have a photo?

  15. Trish Peterson says :

    We were at Pinnacles National Park on Monday afternoon, January 16th, 2017. We have a photo of a condor, Black tag #6 with a dot under it. Would love more info!

  16. Noelle says :

    Saw green tag #6 in Pinnacles National Park yesterday. It flew down and perched literally only a couple feet away from my group and stayed for over twenty minutes. Amazing experience; we took tons of pictures.

  17. Bryan Roomfield says :

    Apr 16 2017 Wife and I went to Marble Canyon today in hopes of seeing a Condor. When we got there the Peregrine Fund was set up with scopes and watching a cave with an egg. They had been there for a few days so knew the male was inside brooding. While we were watching he came into view and then proceeded to give us about a 20 minute flying display landing often on the bridge just below and on the other bridge to play with a feather. We hoped this meant she was returning as the same thing happened three days ago when they last shift changed. They had displayed affection then, rubbing together. Amazing experience. #54 who was seen there last may. Although I didn’t see her the PF people saw the female and would know her number.

  18. Austin Beede says :

    I believe I saw Yellow 32 (could have been 37) today above Caliente, California. The condor was very high in the air, but I did snap a picture. Coordinates of the spotting are 35.287113, -118.652600.

  19. kevin johnson says :

    Yesterday Saw Black Tag 42 (no dots or underlines) At my fire Lookout tower. Would like to know more about this animal.
    2 others were soaring in the area earlier, but never landed and tag couldnt be ID’d

    • Vickie Bakker says :

      I shared your post to our CW Facebook page with the following comment.
      “Photo shared by Fire Lookout.
      This handsome fellow, black 42, is 542, a male hatched in 2009 at World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise. He was released November 2010 at Bitter Creek NWR. He has not yet nested himself, and I do not believe he has a mate currently. His time is coming. Fortunately, to-date he appears to have had a relatively low incidence of lead poisoning to-date. Fingers crossed for much future success.”
      Thanks for sharing!!

  20. Karen Chai says :

    Green 40, was at our house 6/6/17 in Bear Valley Springs, CA. He was on top of our RV about an hour. Haven’t seen him since.

    • Sherri E says :

      We’re in Hart Flat with at least 25 of these. Careful with your RV. They have destroyed a project boat of ours and started on the seats of our good boat before we could get it moved. They have also been tearing up a vacant house near us. They are very destructive and tear up everything. Seems like every time I go outside there are at 4 or 5 doing something they shouldn’t.

      • Karen Chai says :

        Thank you for the info. We’ll keep a closer eye on him if he comes back. Our RV has a cloth cover on it. He looked like he picked at it a couple times, but didn’t continue or poke a hole in it. That was the first and only time we’ve ever seen him.

  21. Alicia Dabney says :

    My husband took pictures yesterday with a condor on the Tule River Indian Reservation. The bird had a green tag number 40 his fire crew figured it was injured and that’s why they got so close.

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