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Southern Caracara Caracara plancus


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.

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Adult calls

© Andrew Spencer

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Southern Caracara (Caracara plancus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: