The framing of environmental conservation has been changing, mainly towards a reconciliation between human needs and nature conservation. A major challenge of biosphere reserves (BRs) is the integration of biodiversity conservation and the sustainable development of local communities. Although these areas are large, they are often not large enough to contain the movements of wide-ranging species. We studied immature Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) movements to evaluate their habitat use in relation to protected areas (PAs). We particularly aimed to determine whether BRs significantly increase the protection of this wide-ranging species. We analysed the movement overlap of 26 GPS-tagged birds with the PAs of Patagonia, and we evaluated preferences for particular landscape categories with a use–availability design. Condors were mainly located in unprotected areas (56.4%), whereas 26.4% of locations were within International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) PAs and 17.2% of locations were in BRs (not including IUCN PAs). When compared to availability, birds preferred BRs over other areas, highlighting the importance of BRs in protecting species that forage in humanized areas. However, the lack of controls and management policies expose condors to several threats, such as poisoning and persecution, in both private lands and BRs. Implementing strict management practices for BRs will help to conserve wide-ranging scavengers that feed in humanized areas.