Crested CaracaraCaracara cheriway

Joanne Williams/VIREO
Joanne Williams/VIREO
adult
Arthur Morris/VIREO
juvenile
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult
Brian K. Wheeler/VIREO
Crested Caracara

Family

Description

20-22" (51-56 cm). W. 4' (1.2 m). A large, long-legged, hawk-like bird with rounded wings. Dark brown with black cap and bare red face; throat, neck, and base of tail white; tip of tail has black band. In flight, shows large white patches near wing tips. Often seen on the ground.

Voice

High, harsh cackle.

Habitat

Prairies, savannas, desert scrub, and seashores.

Range

Resident in southern Arizona, southern Texas, southwestern Louisiana (rare), and central and southern Florida. Also in American tropics.

Discussion

The national bird of Mexico, this scavenger has probably the most varied diet of any bird of prey. It often accompanies and dominates vultures at fresh kills or carrion and also eats small animals. It is primarily a ground-inhabiting falcon of open prairies, with long legs that enable it to walk and run with ease.

Nesting

2 or 3 white eggs, with heavy brown spots and blotches, in a nest of twigs, grasses, weeds, and briars lined with leaves and moss; usually in palmettos or live oaks, rarely on the ground.

Similar Species

adult

Black Vulture

22-24" (56-61 cm). W. 4'6" (1.4 m). Black, with white patch near each wing tip, conspicuous in flight; head bare, grayish; feet extend beyond the short tail.

Vireo

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