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Caracara (genus)

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Title: Caracara (genus)  
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Subject: Falconidae, Caracara, Northern Crested Caracara, Guadalupe Caracara, Antwerp Zoo, List of endemic fauna of Puerto Rico, List of fossil bird genera, Southern Crested Caracara
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Caracara (genus)

Crested Caracara at the Tárcoles River, Costa Rica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Subfamily: Polyborinae
Genus: Caracara
Merrem, 1826

Caracara cheriway
Caracara plancus
and see text

Range of the genus Caracara


Caracara is a genus of birds of prey in the family Falconidae found throughout a large part of the Americas. They are part of a group collectively referred to as caracaras. The modern species in the genus Caracara were previously considered conspecific (as "Crested Caracara", a name still widely used for the Northern Caracara)[1][2][3] and were originally placed within the genus Polyborus.


Two of the modern species are extant, one was deliberately made extinct by humans about 100 years ago (to the detriment of its island home). Several prehistoric taxa are also known.

The fossil record proves the long history of the mainland "crested caracaras". Remains of Northern Caracaras, slightly larger[verification needed] than those of our time and otherwise all but identical, were found in the famous La Brea Tar Pits. In addition, the Guadalupe Caracara may derive from an already-distinct population of western Mexico that subsequently was displaced by the main continental population.


Further reading

  • Dove, C. & R. Banks. 1999. Wilson Bull. 111(3): 330–339.

External links

  • Photo of Crested Caracara at Brazos Bend State Park, Texas : [1]
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