Plain Chachalaca: Loud, phesant-like bird. Drab in color with gray head, olive-brown back, buff belly, dark tail with green gloss. Male shows bright red gular stripe during courtship displays. Feeds on insects, fruits, berries, seeds, leaves and buds. Alternates rapid stiff wing beats with glides.
Range and Habitat
Plain Chachalaca: Found primarily in Mexico and the Neotropics. Extends into the U.S. in southern Texas along the lower Rio Grande valley. Inhabits forested areas, particularly early successional and forest edges, thorn scrub, and brushy thickets.
The Plain Chachalaca was first described in 1830 by Johann Georg Wagler, the German herpetologist.
It is largely arboreal, spending most of its time foraging in trees. It is commonly observed feeding in precarious positions, including upside down. It is furtive and wary and prefers to escape from danger by running swiftly on the ground or leaping and gliding through brushy tangles.
The Plain Chachalaca has a large range, estimated globally at 610,000 square kilometers. Native to the United States and Mexico as well as Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua, this bird prefers subtropical or tropical forest and shrubland ecosystems and can live in degraded former forests as well. The global population of this bird is estimated at 500,000 to 5,000,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Plain Chachalaca is Least Concern.