Common name: Crested Caracara
Range: When you consider about the distribution of Crested Caracara, you could probably see this kind of bird in northern South America and Central America. So that, you can watch this bird in Mexico, Costa Rica, Texas, Florida and Arizona that are the southern most parts of the United States. But this bird is listed as the threatening one.
Size: This large bird is 49-58 centimeters (19.3-22.8 inches) long. The wingspan of the bird is about 120 centimeters (47.2 inches) long
Weight: The Crested Caracara weighs around 1050-1300 grams (37-45.9 Oz)
Diet: Since this bird is the omnivorous one mainly feeds on the carrion. It usually attacks young, immobile, inured and incapacitated things for getting live prey. They eat small mammals, fish, crabs, insects and reptiles like small freshwater turtles, lizards and snakes. They also eat the larvae of these insects, young birds and fish. The group of Crested Caracara hunts on foods through branches and cow dung. It also steals from other birds like pelicans, spoonbills, vultures, ibises and buteos for food.
This bird normally flies and stays low to the ground even they are flying, so it is easy to steal food from other birds. The Crested Caracara also follows the automobiles and trains to fetch the food that falls of from them.
Average lifespan: The lifespan of Crested Caracara is normally 9 years in the wild and 15 years in the captivity
Habitat: The inhabitation of Crested Caracara would be in different types of open and semi-open countries. They normally live to the middle elevation and typically in the lowlands. This species is also found as common in scattered trees, small woods and shelter belts.
You can also find this in other varieties of agricultural lands, coastal woodlands, open lands, coconut plantations and also in the scrubs along beach sides. Because of this habitation, you can easily find this bird in the sides of Costa Rica beach and also in some park sides.
Breeding/Reproduction: Normally you can see the Crested Caracaras as spotted alone or pairs of 3 to 5. There are also dozen caracaras live in the roosts and can see 75 caracaras together, when they got with the abundant food sources. The nesting and breeding season of the Crested Caracara is December to May, which is earlier than other tropical birds. They usually build their nests on the large trees like cacti, mesquites and palms or also on the ground as lost resort.
The nests are usually made from grasses, sticks and hay and spotted with animal materials at the most. Both the sexes involve in bringing the matters to build the nest and also in the construction of the nest. The size of the nest is 60 to 100 centimeters (24-39 inches) wide and deep as 15 to 40 centimeters (5.9-16 inches).
The female Crested Caracara normally lays 2 to 3 eggs and rarely 1 to 4 eggs with darker blotches in the color of pinkish-brown. The incubation period of eggs is 28 to 33 days and the incubation is shared by both the sexes. The young birds of caracaras would leave the nest after 7 to 8 weeks of hatching. Both parents feed the birds for 2 months and they remain with their parents for 10 months. Normally the Crested Caracara pairs would go for only one brood per year.
Crested Caracara normally has broad wings as white in color and long tails are white in color with broad terminal band and black barring. With the help of the long yellow legs it can easily run and walk on the ground. The flight of this bird is normally cross-shaped one. The body, wings, crown and crest are presented in the adults and the color of them is usually black. The breast, rump and neck are in white color and breast is finely barred with the black color. It has grey color bill as thick and hooked one. Depending on the age and mood of the bird the color of facial skin and cere varies as yellow to orange-red.
Both the sexes of Crested Caracara are similar in shape and color, but there are some differences with the immature birds. They normally in the color of brown, have buff throat and neck, breast as pale with brown streaked and legs as greyish color. The facial skin and cere are normally in greyish or sometimes it may be dull pinkish-purple.
Compare to the Southern Caracara, this is second large size bird. It also differs from that by less extensive and barring of the chest with spottier. The scapulars and lower back of crested caracara is uniformly black. This will be in the color of pale with dark barring in the Southern Caracaras. If you consider about the voice of this species, it would be normally as a low rattle one.
Since it is difficult to find out the subspecies of Crested Caracara, the relationship of that bird with modern birds are treated as the important one. The subspecies are,
• Caracara cheriway grinnelli: It represents the direct ancestors of the living population
• Caracara cheriway prelutosus: It is treated as the Guadalupe caracara
Because of the efficient and reliable living of these birds in the beach sides and dry forests, you can find them in the fields of Costa Rica. There are many parks available in Costa Rica to allow people to enjoy with these birds. Since the appearance of the Crested Caracara is attractive one, most of the people prefer to visit Florida, Texas, Mexico and Costa Rica to watch this bird. But it is necessary to be aware of the attack of this bird.
There are numerous people who enjoy the visit to Costa Rica with their family members and friends. Other than this species there are also many species available to offer you with the memorable moment of your life. They can be seen in national parks of Costa Rica such as Manuel Antonio National Park, In the northwest of Costa Rica, Guanacaste National Park connects Cacao and Orosi volcanoes to the Santa Rosa National Park Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge Corcovado National Park
Apart from Costa Rica, you can also go for bird watching throughout the Central America and even in the borders of U.S to watch Crested Caracara and other species.