Wild Florida Photo - Caracara cheriway

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Caracara cheriway




Synonym: Caracara plancus

Florida native

Threatened Florida species

U.S. Threatened species

The habitats of the crested caracara are the prairies and palm groves in the south central peninsula of Florida, mostly north and west of Lake Okeechobee. Caracara cheriway is also a permanent resident of Texas and southern Arizona, ranging into central and south America as far as the Amazon River area of Brazil.
Appearing like a long-legged hawk, the behavior is much like vultures, which caracara often associate with. Perching on posts and in trees, caracara will also walk and run on the ground feeding on carrion and small animals. They sometimes hunt in pairs.
Caracara have a black cap with a crest at the back. The bare skin on the face that is frequently yellow can change quickly to red, orange, or a gray that matches the bill color. The long legs are pale in juveniles and yellow as adults. The white tail is tipped with a wide dark band. The neck is pale with faint barring on the upper back and breast.
Caracara, which translates from Spanish as 'face-face', is the national bird of Mexico.

Caracara cheriway is a member of the Falconidae - Falcons family.

Birds of Florida

   Todd Telander
 A Falcon Field Guide

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Birds of Florida
Each Falcon Field Guide to birds introduces the 180 most common and sought-after species in a state. Conveniently sized to fit in your pocket and featuring full-color, detailed illustrations, these informative guides make it easy to identify birds in a backyard, favorite parks, and wildlife areas. Each bird is accompanied by a detailed listing of its prominent attributes and a color illustration showing its important features. Birds are organized in taxonomic order, keeping families of birds together for easy identification. This is the essential source for the field, both informative and beautiful to peruse.

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For more information on this species, visit the following link:
Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds page for this species

Date record last modified:
Aug 07, 2016

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