Return of Bird of the Week: Chimango Caracara


There don’t seem to be any corvids – the family of birds that includes crows and ravens – in far southern South America. Their ecological niche in North America is filled by falcons, and especially by the Chimango Caracara.

Chimango Caracara, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina

Chimango Caracara, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina

An adult bird is about 18 inches long. It’s behavior, at least for the birds WC saw, was strikingly like a Common Raven: bold, habituated to people and opportunistic. For example, it hangs around campgrounds and has been known to steal unattended food.

Chimango Caracara, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina

Chimango Caracara, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina

Despite being one of the most common diurnal raptors in southern South America, there hasn’t been a lot of research done on the species. It’s semi-colonial, like ravens, sharing a common night-time roost most of the year but generally nesting apart. It’s exceptionally intelligent, another feature shared with ravens.

The species has a wide distribution and its tolerance of humans means it is at little risk.

WC found them utterly charming.

For mor bird images, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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