Crested Caracara

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.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 25 April 2012
Scientific Name
Caracara cheriway
  • Falconiformes
  • Falconidae
  • Caracara
  • C. cheriway
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Least Concern (as of 7 April 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
19.3 to 22.8 inches
47.2 inches
37 to 45.9 ounces


International Names

Brazilian (Português brasileiro) Caracará-do-norte
Czech (Cesky) karančo chocholatý
Danish (Dansk) Mexicansk Caracara
Dutch (Nederlands) Noordelijke Kuifcaracara
Finnish (Suomi) pohjantöyhtökarakara
French (Français) Caracara du Nord
German (Deutsch) Schopfkarakara
Italian (Italiano) Caracara crestato
Japanese (日本語) カンムリカラカラ
Norwegian (Norsk) Nordkarakara
Polish (Polski) karakara bialorzytna
Russian (русский язык) Северная каракара
Spanish (Español) Carancho Norteño
Swedish (Svenska) Nordlig tofscaracara
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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