Black caracara

The Racoons of the bird kingdom who will eat almost anything to survive

Havardtl

The black caracara, a striking bird of prey, inhabits the lush lowlands of the Amazonian region and French Guiana, particularly favoring areas near rivers. Known by various names across its range, such as “Ger’ futu busikaka” in the Republic of Suriname and “juápipi njmb” among the Emberá people of Panama and Colombia, these names reflect the diverse cultural significance of this remarkable species. Notably, ornithologist Helmut Sick bestowed upon them the moniker “gavio-de-anta,” which translates to “tapir-hawk,” highlighting their unique presence in the ecosystem.

Unlike migratory birds, black caracaras are sedentary, meaning they remain within their tropical habitats year-round without undertaking long-distance journeys. Their presence is often observed in small groups comprising two to five individuals perched majestically atop lofty trees. In these elevated roosting spots, they construct nests made of sticks, where they lay 2-3 spotted brown eggs. Despite their conspicuous presence, much remains unknown about their breeding habits and reproductive biology, adding to the intrigue surrounding this species.

As versatile omnivores, black caracaras display a diverse diet that reflects their opportunistic feeding behavior. They are known to exhibit predatory, scavenging, and foraging tendencies, a characteristic trait shared with other members of the caracara family. Their keen hunting instincts allow them to capture prey with precision, while their scavenging habits ensure they make the most of available food resources in their environment. This adaptability is a testament to their resilience and ability to thrive in diverse ecological niches.

Beyond their ecological role as predators and scavengers, black caracaras hold cultural significance among indigenous communities and local populations across their range. Their presence in the natural landscape often inspires awe and admiration, with their distinctive appearance and behavior captivating the imagination of those fortunate enough to encounter them in the wild.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Bolivia
2016
Brazil
2016
Colombia
2016
Ecuador
2016
French Guiana
2016
Guyana
2016
Peru
2016
Suriname
2016
Venezuela
2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No