The caracara is an interesting New World bird in the falcon family. The word caracara is Spanish for “carrion eater.” Despite eating carrion, this bird finds food in many other ways. The caracara will sometimes skim over the water to catch fish. They will also catch live prey to kill and eat, or when food is scarce, they will even eat rotting fruits and vegetables or smaller prey such as worms and insects. Often they will chase their prey while running on the ground instead of flying. Even though caracaras, at 24 inches (60 cm), are smaller than vultures, they often gain the upper hand when it comes to sharing food. One odd thing about the caracara is the fact that they work together while raising their three chicks. All the birds work together to provide food and protection for each other and for the chicks. Caracaras have a long fledging period of up to three months.
This map shows the range of the northern (Caracara cheriway) and southern (Caracara plancus) crested caracaras as well as the now extinct Guadalupe caracara (Caracara lutosa).
Here’s the picture of next week’s animal.
- Complete Birds of the World. Tim Harris, National Geographic, ISBN: 978‑1‑4262‑0419‑7
- Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide. David Burnie and Don E. Wilson, Smithsonian Institution, ISBN: 978-0-7566-6002-4
- http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/94471/caracara – accessed on 9-20-13
- http://animal.discovery.com/birds/caracara-info.htm – accessed on 9-20-13
- Caracara – Wikipedia user:Elmarto
- Caracara range map – Wikipedia user:MPF
- Mystery animal – Wikipedia user:LoKiLeCh