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Northern crested caracara

Caracara cheriway


The northern caracara has a length of 49–58 cm (19–23 in), a wingspan of 107–130 cm (42–51 in), and weighs 800–1,355 g (1.764–2.987 lb).[10] Average weight is higher in the north of the range, smaller in the tropics. In Florida, 21 male birds averaged 1,117 g (2.463 lb) and 18 female birds averaged 1,200 g (2.6 lb). In Panama, males were found to average 834 g (1.839 lb) and females averaged 953 g (2.101 lb).[11] Among caracaras, it is second in size only to the southern caracara.[12] Broad-winged and long-tailed, it also has long legs and frequently walks and runs on the ground. It is very cross-shaped in flight. The adult has a black body, wings, crest and crown. The neck, rump, and conspicuous wing patches are white, and the tail is white with black barring and a broad terminal band. The breast is white, finely barred with black. The bill is thick, grey and hooked, and the legs are yellow. The cere and facial skin are deep yellow to orange-red depending on age and mood. Sexes are similar, but immature birds are browner, have a buff neck and throat, a pale breast streaked/mottled with brown, greyish-white legs and greyish or dull pinkish-purple facial skin and cere. The voice of this species is a low rattle (Wikipedia)


Often seen flying over our the rural areas of Ubatuba and perching on roofs, and also scavenging alongside Turkey Buzzards in discarded rubbish. Often chased by smaller birds, possibly in fear of losing chicks from nest etc. Probably inhabits local tropical forestry.

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Tukup 4 years ago

Hi David. Since they are supposed to be plentiful in Ecuador too, I was wondering why I've never seen any, but then I was reading that they are birds of open and semi-open country. We will probably never see them deep in the Amazon. Thanks so much for sharing. They look like majestic birds.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 4 years ago

Wow. Amazing birds. I've never seen or heard of them before. Great pics and description.

Spotted by

SP, Brazil

Spotted on Feb 14, 2019
Submitted on Mar 8, 2019

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