Wild Florida Photo - Caracara plancus - Crested Caracara

Caracara plancus (J.F.Miller, 1777) subsp. cheriway (Jacquin, 1784)

Crested Caracara
Northern Caracara
Mexican Eagle

Synonym(s): Caracara cheriway (Jacquin, 1784)

Florida native

Threatened Florida species

U.S. Threatened species

Osceola Co. FL 01/30/11
Osceola Co. FL 01/30/11
Osceola Co. FL 01/30/11
Osceola Co. FL 01/30/11
Highlands Co. FL 02/06/05
Highlands Co. FL 02/06/05

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The habitats of the crested caracara are the prairies and palm groves in the south central peninsula of Florida, mostly north and west of Lake Okeechobee. Caracara plancus is also a permanent resident of Texas and southern Arizona, ranging into central and south America as far as the Amazon River area of Brazil.
Appearing like a long-legged hawk, the behavior is much like vultures, which caracara often associate with. Perching on posts and in trees, caracara will also walk and run on the ground feeding on carrion and small animals. They sometimes hunt in pairs.
Caracara have a black cap with a crest at the back. The bare skin on the face that is frequently yellow can change quickly to red, orange, or a gray that matches the bill color. The long legs are pale in juveniles and yellow as adults. The white tail is tipped with a wide dark band. The neck is pale with faint barring on the upper back and breast.
Caracara, which translates from Spanish as 'face-face', is the national bird of Mexico.


Caracara plancus is a member of the Falconidae - Falcons family.

For more information on this species, visit the following link:
Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds page for this species

Date record last modified: Jun 08, 2024

Paul Rebmann Nature Photography at pixels.com