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Crested Caracara

Crested Tit

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Crested Tit

  • Lophophanes cristatus
  • Tits, Chickadees & Kinglets
Crested Auklet

About the Crested Caracara

Also known as: Northern Caracara, Northern Crested Caracara, Audubon's Caracara, Mexican Butterball, Mexican Eagle

Related to falcons but acting like a vulture, the Crested Caracara is a unique bird of prey found in northern South America, through Central America, and in Arizona, Texas and Florida in the United States. This species is also known as the Northern Caracara.

Adult Crested Caracaras have dark bodies and a toupee-like crown and crest of black. The neck is white with barring down the breast. They have thick grey beaks with facial skin ranging from yellow to reddish-orange.

Crested Caracaras are scavengers, feeding mostly on carrion. They also take live prey and will hunt on foot, which is rare for a bird of prey. They can be found associating with vultures at feeding locations and while roosting.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 25 April 2012
Scientific Name Caracara cheriway
  • Falconiformes
  • Falconidae
  • Caracara
  • C. cheriway
Birdorable Family Birds of Prey
Conservation Status Least Concern
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
(as of 28 July 2017)
Units: Imperial Metric
19.3 to 22.8 inches
47.2 inches
37 to 45.9 ounces
Range North America Central America Caribbean South America

International Names

  • Caracará-do-norte (Brazilian)
  • karančo chocholatý (Czech)
  • Mexicansk Caracara (Danish)
  • Noordelijke Kuifcaracara (Dutch)
  • pohjantöyhtökarakara (Finnish)
  • Caracara du Nord (French)
  • Schopfkarakara (German)
  • Caracara crestato (Italian)
  • カンムリカラカラ (Japanese)
  • Nordkarakara (Norwegian)
  • karakara bialorzytna (Polish)
  • Северная каракара (Russian)
  • Carancho Norteño (Spanish)
  • Nordlig tofscaracara (Swedish)

Related articles & downloads

Ten cool Crested Caracara facts

Ten cool Crested Caracara facts

Crested Caracaras are distinctive birds of prey that live in parts of North, Central, and South America. Here are some cool facts about the Crested Caracara: 1) Crested Caracaras are fine at flying, ... more