Plain Chachalaca

Ortalis vetula

Order

GALLIFORMES

Family

Chachalaca (Cracidae)

Code 4

PLCH

Code 6

ORTVET

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

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.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

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: This species is found primarily in Mexico along the Gulf Coast and in the Neotropics. Its range extends into the U.S. in extreme southern Texas along the lower Rio Grande valley. Inhabits forested areas, particularly early successional and forest edges, thorn scrub, and brushy thickets.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"cha cha lac", "KLOK aTOK aTOK", "krrrr"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • 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.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Plain Chachalaca

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Ashli Maruster

Artist

Irina Rud-Volga

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
GularX
The area between the chin and the foreneck.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X