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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 06, 2021

17 Amaze-wing Facts About The Mountain Caracara For Kids

Read about one of the species of birds of prey. Here are some interesting and fun mountain caracara facts.

Birds of prey are also called the raptor. These birds are highly opportunistic preying and feeding upon vertebrates or carrion. The family of raptors is classified into hawks, eagles, buzzards, harriers, kites, vultures, falcons, caracaras, osprey, secretarybirds, and seriemas. The mountain caracara, Phalcoboenus megalopterus, is a South American species from the order Falconiformes. The bird found in southern Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, northern Argentina, and central Chile primarily range throughout the Andes mountains range. The species first documented in 1834 by Meyer having a considerable population residing in puna and páramo the Andes mountain range is often referred to as mountain Andes caracara. While the birds are fairly common within their range of favorable habitat, they are recorded foraging near the ground as they feed upon a variety of invertebrates. The mountain caracara bird has a black chest with pinkish-gray facial skin unlike its closely related species: carunculated caracara, striated caracara, and white-throated caracara.

If the uniqueness of the mountain caracara makes you interested to read more about similar species, you can read about the griffon vulture and Hawaiian hawk

Mountain Caracara Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a mountain caracara?

The mountain caracara, Phalcoboenus megalopterus, is a South American species of raptor, first documented in 1834. It is closely related to carunculated caracara and white-throated caracara, which are species of the same genus Phalcoboenus. It is highly opportunistic, foraging near the ground. It is termed with several vernacular names like matamico andino in Argentina, carancho cordillerano in Chile, caracara montañero in southern Ecuador, and caracara cordillerano in Peru.

What class of animal does a mountain caracara belong to?

The mountain caracara, Phalcoboenus megalopterus (Meyer, 1834), belongs to the kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, class Aves, order Falconiformes, family Falconidae, and the genus Phalcoboenus.

How many mountain caracaras are there in the world?

While the mountain caracara, Phalcoboenus megalopterus, is fairly common in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile, the population range of the bird around the world is not quantified. On the contrary, Hawaiian honeycreepers are one of the rarest species with about 6-18 birds, and are on the verge of extinction.

Where does a mountain caracara live?

The species of mountain caracara, Phalcoboenus megalopterus, from the family Falconidae, range around South America. The population of birds is found in southern Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, northern Argentina, and central Chile. Primarily, it ranges throughout puna and páramo in the Andes Mountain range.

What is a mountain caracara's habitat?

The habitat of the mountain caracara range from open and barren ground, puna plain, desert, ski lodge, high-altitude grassland, and lowland to high-elevated heavily degraded forests or heavily grazed areas. While the species from the same genus of mountain caracara migrate, no reports confirm is the mountain caracara migrates. It is usually recorded moving the large rock in groups and covering small distances.

Who do mountain caracaras live with?

Mountain caracaras usually feed in groups and also are found moving the large rock with the assistance of its group members, but the group or flock of the bird is not as large as of the flamingo (Phoenicopterus or Phoenicoparrus). The bird is found walking in pairs with a juvenile together.

How long does a mountain caracara live?

The mountain caracara is speculated to live for considerable years, usually feeding upon various live species and carrion. While the average life span of the mountain caracara is unrecorded, ospreys are known to live for almost 32 years and are one of the longest living raptors around the world.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the adult birds ranges from October to December in the south, while the species usually breed around March-April for the population elsewhere. The bird nests in cavities in the large rock or rocky ridge in a cliff. It often builds nests on the concrete electricity towers. The birds roost in large flocks in rugged areas near cliffs. The females lay two to three eggs. The mountain caracara egg is pink-white with heavily red spots. The egg hatches into a juvenile bird that has an overall brown plumage.

What is their conservation status?

While the population of mountain caracara, Phalcoboenus megalopterus, is fairly common in its range, the highly opportunistic birds are listed as Least Concern under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Mountain Caracara Fun Facts

What do mountain caracaras look like?

The birds from the family Falconidae residing in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile, have black and white plumage. The feathers are jet black around its head and upper body, while the underparts are white. The mountain caracara appearance resembles carunculated caracara and white-throated caracara, but has dull pinkish-gray facial hairs with a black chest, unlike other closely related species from its genus. The tail is rounded and black with a white under-tail. Also, the bill is orange-red with a bluish-white tip. The legs are yellow in color. The juveniles have an overall brown plumage. The young birds take up to three years to attain maturity.

It is a bird with black and white plumage and a bright orange bill with a bluish-white tip.

How cute are they?

The population of birds is black and white, while juveniles are brown. While the birds have a scary appearance, the birds are not considered cute. Also, black is everyone's favorite and never fails to attract the eyes of a human, the bright orange bill is another unique characteristic of the bird.

How do they communicate?

This bird of prey remains mostly silent, and it communicates via vocalizations when alarmed. The mountain caracara consumes its diet in groups and attracts members of its group when needs help to move a rock. The call usually heard sounds like rasping 'ahk-ahk' while it gives a high-pitched call sounding 'kieer' to attract the same species.

How big is a mountain caracara?

The mountain caracara is 19-21.6 in (48-55 cm) long. It is five times smaller than the largest bird around the world, an ostrich ranging up to 5.5-9.2 ft (66-110 in).

How fast can a mountain caracara fly?

While the mountain caracara flight ranges up to the height of 11483-16404 ft (3500-5000 m), the flying speed of the bird is not recorded. In comparison, these birds of prey are speculated to have a considerable speed, the peregrine falcon is recorded to fly at a speed as high as 200-242 mph (322-390 kph).

How much does a mountain caracara weigh?

The mountain caracara found in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile weighs within the range of 28-28.2 oz (795-800 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The mountain caracara male and mountain caracara female look similar and do not have any specific name differentiating the sex of the species.

What would you call a baby mountain caracara?

The mountain caracara baby is also called a chick, fledgling, hatchling, or nestling.

What do they eat?

The mountain caracara diet comprises live vertebrates and carrion, the flesh of dead animals. These birds primarily feed upon various insects, carrion, arthropods, rodents, and small birds.

Are they dangerous?

The mountain caracara is an aggressive species and can be dangerous if threatened.

Would they make a good pet?

The bird is a wild animal and is better kept in the wild.

Did you know...

The bird is found in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile, and areas of the Anges Mountain range.

The mountain caracara feathers were used to decorate the crown of the emperor of the Inca Empire of Sapa Inca.

Do mountain caracaras migrate?

While several similar species are speculated to migrate, no sources confirm migration trends in the mountain caracara.

Difference between a mountain caracara and crested caracara?

The mountain caracara and crested caracara belong to the genus Phalcoboenus. The crested caracara is twice the size of the mountain caracara, while there is a negligible difference between their weight. Also, while the bill of the mountain caracara has a bluish-white tip, it is gray in crested caracara.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these white hawk facts and saker falcon facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable mountain caracara coloring pages.

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