Crested Caracara: Large, ground-dwelling falcon, black body, finely barred tail, wing panels and upper breast. Head crest is black, facial skin is red, and large bill is blue-gray and hooked. Legs are long and yellow. Strong steady wing beats alternated with long to short glides. Soars on thermals.
Range and Habitat
Crested Caracara: Found from Baja California to eastern Texas, south to Panama. Preferred habitats include prairies, savannas, desert scrub, and seashores.
The Crested Caracara has a large range, estimated globally at 4,300,000 square kilometers. It is native to the nations of Central and South America as well as the United States, Mexico, and many island nations and prefers wetland, shrubland, grassland, even pasture or plantation land ecosystems. The global population of this bird is 100,000-1,000,000 individuals and it does not appear to meet population decline criteria that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. The current evaluation status of the Crested Caracara is Least Concern.
Although it looks like a long-legged hawk and associates with vultures, it is actually in the same family as falcons.
A common subject of folklore and legends throughout Central and South America, the Crested Caracara is sometimes referred to as the “Mexican eagle.”
A group of falcons has many collective nouns, including a "bazaar", "eyrie", "ringing up", "stooping up", and "tower" of falcons.