Fun Striated Caracara Facts For Kids

Arpitha Rajendra
Oct 20, 2022 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Aug 30, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Read more interesting striated caracara facts here.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

The striated caracara (Phalcoboenus australis) is a bird of prey species of the Falconidae family. This bird is also called a Johnny rook on the Falklands, perhaps named after the Johnny penguin (gentoo penguin). This species is almost black with silver, orange, chestnut, gray, and brown adult plumage.

This species is Near Threatened, with only a few breeding pairs left in the world. The Phalcoboenus genus is a small group of caracaras. The four extant species of this genus are allopatric.

There is one extinct bird in this genus. They are opportunistic feeders and can often be found on the ground, feeding on carrions.

The young ones have completely brown plumage. This species is found on the Falklands, the Andes, Tierra del Fuego, and Patagonia. They occupy open and barren habitats.

In the Falconidae family, there are 60 caracara and falcon species. Willian Elford Leach, an English zoologist, introduced Falconidae in 1820 in the British Museum's guide to contents. There are three recognized subfamilies in this family, Falconinae, Polyborinae, and Herpetotherinae.

Read more fun facts about griffon vulture and Andean condor.

Striated Caracara Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a striated caracara?

The striated caracara (Phalcoboenus australis) or Johnny rook is a bird of prey of the order Falconiformes and phylum Chordata. This scavenger bird is territorial. This caracara scratches for insects in tidal areas and also turns stones in search of food when seabirds are absent from breeding colonies. This caracara is not known to kill healthy young animals.

This bird has a bad relationship with sheep farmers because this raptor is attracted to dead sheep or weak or stranded animals. The striated caracara also digs up burrows using its strong legs and claws in search of small seabirds.

This bird is usually attracted to red objects and there have been records of this raptor stealing red objects around the islands. This bird also attacks intruders entering their territory even if that is a human.

What class of animal does a striated caracara belong to?

The striated caracara (Phalcoboenus australis) belongs to the class of Aves of Animalia.

How many striated caracaras are there in the world?

The population number of striated caracara (Phalcoboenus australis) birds in the world is estimated to be 1,000-2,499 mature birds, which means there are 1,500-3,000 adults. A survey in 2006 showed that the breeding population distribution is stable with 500 breeding pairs.

Where does a striated caracara live?

This caracara occupies islets of extreme South America, occupying the countries of Chile and Argentina, and the islands of Cape Horn, Navarino, and Staten. These birds are also found on the Falklands.

The striated caracara (Phalcoboenus australis) or Johnny rook is found in the southeast range of coastal islands off Tierra del Fuego, extending to the outer islands of the Falklands archipelago and the Chilean fjords.

The Falklands is believed to be where the stronghold of the population of this bird is. Records from history suggest that the population might have occupied East Falkland.

What is a striated caracara's habitat?

The habitat of the striated caracara (Phalcoboenus australis) population includes coastal islands, open lowlands, and rocky coasts. The range in rocky coasts extends from tidal zones perhaps to coastal mountains at higher altitudes. This species can only be found among seabirds and seals in islands.

Who do striated caracaras live with?

Striated caracaras form flocks and wander across islands. They are quite social.

How long does a striated caracara live?

Striated caracaras live for around 10 years.

How do they reproduce?

These birds breed on islands off Tierra del Fuego, South America. The breeding season of these birds is in austral summer, from December to late February.

Striated caracaras build their nests under a tussock of grass or on rock ledges. They build their nest using dried grass and twigs and if available, they line it with wool. They build their nest in loose colonies, and the neighboring breeding pairs are invisible from each nest.

Both adults perform displays in the breeding season, particularly head throwing displays. If the nest sites are limited, they build it at less than 0.006 miles (10 m) apart.

Striated caracara female birds lay four eggs. Juveniles hatch when the seabirds start to nest and this provides a constant food source for the chicks. Both adults defend their nests by chasing away intruders. After fledging the nest, juveniles form flocks and wander across islands. They can fearlessly attack campsites.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of striated caracaras is evaluated as Near Threatened by BirdLife International. The distribution in the Falkland has faced heavy persecution. The population of these birds has also had conflicts with sheep farmers, which has now been corrected in the Falkland Islands to conserve this wildlife species.

Striated Caracara Fun Facts

What do striated caracaras look like?

Both adultsStriated caracaras are identical in appearance. The upper part plumage is black to brown-black. There are pale buff or creamy white streaks on their neck, breast, and upper back. There is a broad white band on their dark tail.

The neck has gray color flecked over it. Their lores and legs are orange and their eyes are dark brown. They have rufous thighs and underwing-coverts.

The undertail is brown-black with a white patch on the base of tail feathers. They have yellow-orange facial skin and a gray hooked bill with orange-yellow cere. The overall plumage of young chicks is black-brown. The streaking appearance develops as they grow and adult plumage colors are reached at five years of age.

Striated Caracara flying in the sky

How cute are they?

These birds of prey are not considered cute.

How do they communicate?

These birds of prey communicate through songs, calls, body language, and vision. Their calls are raucous sounds used while defending their territory.

When the birds are disturbed, they produce grumbles and short clicks at the nest. They often find carrions due to their great eyesight. They look for red colors and they tend to take red objects from around islands.

How big is a striated caracara?

The striated caracara size is 20.8-25.5 lb (53-65 cm) in length. This species is half the size of the crested caracara.

How fast can a striated caracara fly?

The flight speed of striated caracaras is not known.

How much does a striated caracara weigh?

The weight of crested caracaras is 2.6 lb (1180 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to striated caracara male or female birds.

What would you call a baby striated caracara?

There is no specific name given to a baby striated caracara bird.

What do they eat?

The diet of this wild species is carnivorous and they are opportunistic feeders. This raptor is a scavenger, feeding mostly on carrions in the breeding colonies. The diet also includes young seabirds, dead sheep, chicks, young lambs, seabirds, carcasses of penguins and fur seals, earthworms, kelp wrack, and beetles.

Are they dangerous?

No, these birds are not dangerous to humans naturally. However, striated caracaras can get aggressive if you enter their territory.

Would they make a good pet?

No, the striated caracaras would not make great pets. They can become aggressive and they also feed on carrion. It would be hard to mimic their natural habitat and diet in your home.

Did you know...

The related species, mountain caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus) birds, is found in Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, and Peru.

Charles Darwin called these birds 'mischievous and inquisite' and 'tame and fearless'. Darwin also found that this species can be easily caught using hand nets.

The curiosity of these birds might be an evolutionary trait that allows them to develop new methods to find their food resources.

Being one of the rarest raptors in the world, striated caracaras are also the largest raptors in the genus Phalcoboenus.

What are the striated caracara's birthing rituals like?

The nests of striated caracaras are built with twigs and vegetation on cliff edges or ground. After egg-laying, incubation lasts for a month. Juveniles are born exactly at the time when young prey seabirds are born. This gives enough food sources for both parents and juveniles.

Why is the striated caracara also called the Johnny rook?

Striated caracaras are also named the Johnny rook because of Johnny penguin (gentoo penguin) found on the same islands, such as the Falklands, as these birds.

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 saker falcon facts and Hawaiian hawk facts for kids.

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

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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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