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Southern Crested Caracara

Caracara plancus


Spotted this Southern Crested Caracara along the main road in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. It was the most frequent raptor I saw during my entire 3-week visit. I once saw a group of 10 birds.


Feeding in open grass/shrub land along main park road in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.


The Southern Caracara is a distinctive raptor that occurs widely in open areas of central and southern South America. It inhabits agricultural land, grasslands, marshes, and open forest primarily in lowlands from eastern Brazil and extreme southern Peru south to Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands. It is dark brown overall with white on the face and neck becoming heavily barred with dark brown on the upper mantle and breast. The rump, undertail coverts, and tail base are also white, and there are white patches on the primaries that are visible in flight. This species closely resembles the allopatric Crested Caracara (C. cheriway), but has more barring on the chest and more pale color in the mantle and scapulars. It feeds on a large variety of items, but particularly carrion, reptiles, and arthropods. The large nest is constructed of sticks and positioned high on a tree or cactus or on the ground. Largely sedentary, this species may disperse or wander periodically. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Neotropical Birds

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misako 6 years ago

It was Marta--I love raptors and it was a treat to see so many of them.

The MnMs
The MnMs 6 years ago keyboard is acting up on me:
I meant "It must have been such a blast to see this bird!"..Now... :-D

The MnMs
The MnMs 6 years ago

Wow! mus have ben such a blast to see this guy! :-)

misako 6 years ago

No problem--I just learned there were northern and southern species.

Desmond.E.S.O 6 years ago

Sorry... That's what I meant to say!

misako 6 years ago

Thanks Desmond! The one you saw is the northern caracara (C. cheriway). They are very similar in appearance.

Desmond.E.S.O 6 years ago

I saw one of these in Mericopa county, AZ. Nice Spotting!

Spotted by

Torres del Paine, XII Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile

Spotted on Jan 9, 2015
Submitted on Feb 2, 2015

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