2013 Bonanza Bird #7

Introducing the Striated Caracara: A Raptor with Vulture-like Habits

We're adding one brand new bird species each day until we reach our 500th Birdorable at the end of July! Today's Bonanza bird is the Striated Caracara.

Birdorable Striated Caracara

The Striated Caracara is remarkable because it has the southern-most breeding population of any bird of prey in the world. These dark raptors, also known as Johnny Rooks, breed on the Falkland Islands and in some spots in Tierra del Fuego.

Striated Caracaras on Saunders Island
Striated Caracaras on Saunders Island by Liam Quinn (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Striated Caracaras are in the same family as falcons, but in some ways they behave more like vultures. They are opportunistic feeders and will scavenge on carrion or refuse or hunt weakened or very young and vulnerable prey. They are highly intelligent and have a curious nature.

Tomorrow we'll add a diving duck named for its eye color but recognized more often by the shape of its white face patch.


Cute Striated Caracara Gifts

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, but they can often be found walking around on the ground. Their long legs also make them strong runners.

2) While mostly quiet, the Crested Caracara has a distinctive social vocalization which is described as a rattle. The cackling, rattling sound is produced while the bird throws its head back in a move called the head-throwback display.

Crested Caracara head-throwback display

3) Caracaras are members of the falcon family.

4) Unlike many other falcon species, caracaras are not cavity nesters. They build stick nests high up in trees.

5) Like vultures, Crested Caracaras eat a lot of carrion.

6) The diet of a Crested Caracara may also include insects foraged through vegetation or eggs from ground-nesting birds.

7) Crested Caracaras look very distinctive, with dark bodies, a white neck, and a dark shaggy cap.

8) Baby Crested Caracaras have their dark cap from the time they hatch.

feeding time for the hungry baby caracara
feeding time for the hungry baby caracara by belgianchocolate [Creative Commons]

9) The national bird of Mexico is the Crested Caracara (an honor sometimes shared with the Golden Eagle).

10) To intimidate nest intruders, Crested Caracaras may clack their beaks, or break off dry twigs to make a snapping sound. If you can't get enough of Crested Caracaras, you're in luck! This unique species is one of our newest Birdorable birds! Check out our fun collection of cute Crested Caracara apparel and gifts.