The condensin complex is essential for correct packaging and segregation of chromosomes during mitosis and meiosis in all eukaryotes. To date, the genome-wide location and the nature of condensin-binding sites have remained elusive in vertebrates. Here we report the genome-wide map of condensin I in chicken DT40 cells. Unexpectedly, we find that condensin I binds predominantly to promoter sequences in mitotic cells. We also find a striking enrichment at both centromeres and telomeres, highlighting the importance of the complex in chromosome segregation. Taken together, the results show that condensin I is largely absent from heterochromatic regions. This map of the condensin I binding sites on the chicken genome reveals that patterns of condensin distribution on chromosomes are conserved from prokaryotes, through yeasts to vertebrates. Thus in three kingdoms of life, condensin is enriched on promoters of actively transcribed genes and at loci important for chromosome segregation.