|Photo by Luis Argerich (Wikipedia)|
southern crested caracara (en); caracará (pt); caracara huppé (fr); carancho (es); schopfkarakara (de)
This South American species if found from central Peru and Bolivia, east to the Amazon Delta, in Brazil, and south through Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina all the way to Tuerra del Fuego. they are also found in the Falkland islands.
These birds are 50-65 cm long and have a wingspan of 120-144 cm. They weigh 0,9-1,6 kg.
Southern crested caracaras are found in virtually any open or semi-open habitat within range, generally avoiding dense humid forests. They are often found in agricultural areas and near human settlements, and can also be found in marshes and swamps.
These birds are opportunistic feeders, eating a wide range of carrion and live animals, particularly road kills. They will often follow plows and tractors to obtain exposed food items and can also eat marine turtle eggs, bird eggs and nestlings, and even feed on vegetable matter, including peanuts, beans, avocados, and palm fruits. They are also known to attack newborn lambs and are kleptoparasitic, robbing food from other bird species.
Southern crested caracaras breed in May-February. The nest is made of crude banches and lined with animal hair. It is generally placed on the top of a tall tree, although when trees are not available they are also known to nest on the ground. The female lays 2-3 whitish to reddish-orange eggs with brown spots, which are incubated for 28-32 days. Typically only 1 chick is fledged, leaving the nest around 3 months after hatching.
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be increasing owing to creation of suitable habitat through deforestation and increased cattle-ranching and sheep-rearing