Crested Caracara

Caracara cheriway




Caracaras and Falcons (Falconidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White or light pink, usually with brown markings

Number of Eggs:

1 - 4

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In palmetto or giant cacti., 15 - 30 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Sticks and twigs.





Crested Caracara: Large, ground-dwelling falcon with black body and finely barred tail, wing panels and upper breast. Head crest is black, facial skin is red, and large bill is blue-gray and hooked. Legs are long and yellow. Sexes are similar. Juvenile has brown-streaked upper half of body and white-spotted wings.

Range and Habitat

Crested Caracara: Resident from Baja California to eastern Texas, and south throughout much of Mexico and into Panama. Also found in extreme southern Arizona, southwestern Louisiana, central Florida, and parts of the West Indies. Preferred habitats include prairies, savannas, desert scrub, and seashores.

Breeding and Nesting

Crested Caracara: One to four brown marked, white or light pink eggs are laid in a bulky nest made of vines and sticks, usually built in a cabbage palm tree. Eggs are incubated for 32 days by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Crested Caracara: Diet includes carrion, small turtles, turtle eggs, fish, insects, frogs, lizards, snakes, small birds, and small mammals. When pursuing larger prey, a pair sometimes works together; has been observed feeding on carrion with vultures.


Crested Caracara: Usually silent, but makes a loud "wick-wick-wick-wick-querrr" during breeding season.

Similar Species

Crested Caracara: Black Vulture lacks head crest, red face, and barred breast and tail.

The upper front part of a bird.
Tufts of feathers on the head of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X