Has declined in parts of U.S. range, owing to shooting and habitat loss. Some evidence of recent increases in Texas. The distinctive race on Guadalupe Island, Mexico, became
extinct in 1900.
Related to the typical falcons, but very different in shape and habits. The Crested Caracara is a strikingly patterned, broad-winged opportunist that often feeds on carrion. Aggressive,
it may chase vultures away from road kills. Widespread in the American tropics, it enters our area only near the Mexican border and in Florida. "Caracara" comes from a South American
Indian name, based on the bird's call.
An opportunist, hunting and scavenging in a variety of ways. Often hunts by flying low, taking small animals by surprise. Flies along highways early in morning, searching for road kills.
May steal food from other birds. May scratch on the ground for insects, or dig up turtle eggs.
Carrion, small animals. Feeds on a wide variety of smaller creatures, either captured alive or found dead. Diet includes rabbits, ground squirrels, skunks, various birds
(plus their eggs and young), frogs, snakes, lizards, turtles, young alligators, fish, large insects.
In courtship, two birds may toss heads back repeatedly while giving guttural call. Members of a pair may preen each other's feathers. Nest sites vary, usually 8-50' above ground in top of
shrub or tree, such as live oak, cabbage palm, acacia; in Arizona, sometimes in giant cactus. Nest is a bulky structure of sticks, weeds, debris, sometimes built on top of
shrub or tree, such as live oak, cabbage palm, acacia; in Arizona, sometimes in giant cactus. Nest is a bulky structure of sticks, weeds, debris, sometimes built on top of old nest of other species.
species. Nest may be reused annually, with more material added each year.
Everglades Eco-Safari Half Day Tour
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