Crested Caracara

Basic Description

The Crested Caracara, scientifically known as Caracara cheriway, is a fascinating bird of prey found in the Americas. It belongs to the falcon family and is the only member of its genus that lives in North America. Its size varies from 20 to 24 inches with a wingspan ranging from 4 to 5 feet. The bird’s body features a mix of black, white, and brown feathers with distinct crested head plumage.

Where To Find This Bird

Crested Caracaras are native to Mexico and Central America but can also be found throughout South America and parts of Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida in North America. They are often seen soaring above open savannas, pastures or grasslands searching for food or perched on trees scanning their surroundings.


Crested Caracaras prefer living in open areas such as prairies or plains but are also seen nesting in forests close to riverside cliffs where they can easily spot fish swimming below them. In addition to these habitats they make use of other landscapes including deserts scrublands or agricultural fields which offer plenty of opportunities for hunting small creatures.


These birds have an omnivorous diet consisting mainly of small mammals like rabbits or squirrels though it isn’t uncommon for caracaras also eat snakes reptiles amphibians insects carrion (dead animals). During migration periods Crested Caracaras follow large herds feeding on prey flushed out by grazing animals such as cattle.

Cool Facts

– The Crested Caracara was once believed by American ornithologists to be more closely related to vultures than hawks.
– These birds will steal food from another bird if given an opportunity.
– Known for being fearless, the Crested Caracara has been known to intimidate larger birds and animals.
– The bird is often referred to by its nickname “Mexican eagle” as it appears on Mexico’s coat of arms.