Sunday, April 25, 2010


Part predator and part scavenger, Crested Caracara is a member of the Polyborinae subgroup of the Falcon Family. (Native to the Americas, the Polyborinae group also includes the Forest Falcons and Laughing Falcon.) As one of the most eye-catching members of the Falcon Family, Crested Caracara has a distinctive black crest and a featherless red-orange face. In fact, this broad-winged Falcon is the charismatic National Bird of Mexico.

Not particularly a powerful hunter, Crested Caracara usually feeds on sick and wounded Animals. Instead of sharp claws like other Falcons, He has blunt ones, which are well adapted for walking and scratching in the dirt for Insects. Despite his slow flight, Crested Caracara is actually a close relative of the narrow- winged Falcons.

Also, Crested Caracara has another “unfalconlike” trait. He makes a nest instead of laying his eggs on a rocky ledge. However, his nest is an untidy heap of sticks. And, you can usually find Crested Caracara’s nest on the top of a solitary palm tree.

Crested Caracara takes every opportunity to obtain food. He patrols garbage dumps looking for rotting meat. In Brazil, He will fly along trains to eat meat offered on sticks by railway workers. Crested Caracara will even snatch a young Turtle as He searches the lakeshore for a tasty meal.

Although there are many aspects of Crested Caracara’s lifestyle that is decidedly “unfalconlike”, He is still a Falcon. This eye catching Bird urges us to rethink our notions of Falcons, as well as other things we thought we knew. He calls to us to expand our horizons, and to embrace new concepts about old established ideas. Look to Crested Caracara for inventive thinking.

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