File:Caracara cheriway Roma TX.png
Northern Caracara (Caracara cheriway) in Texas, USA.
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Subfamily: Caracarinae
Genus: Caracara
Merrem, 1826

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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 for long placed in 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.


  1. ^ AOU Check-list of North American Birds. 7th edition w. supplements. Accessed 2008-04-26
  2. ^ ABA Check-list (PDF). Version 6.8. Accessed 2008-04-26
  3. ^ Clements, J. F. 2007. The Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World. 6th edition. Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-0-7136-8695-1
  4. ^ a b c "Caracara". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 03 April 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ Steadman, David W.; Richard Franz; Gary S. Morgan; Nancy A. Albury; Brian Kakuk; Kenneth Broad; Shelley E. Franz; Keith Tinker; Michael P. Pateman; Terry A. Lott; David M. Jarzen; David L. Dilcher (2007). "Exceptionally well preserved late Quaternary plant and vertebrate fossils from a blue hole on Abaco, The Bahamas". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 104 (50): 19897–19902. PMC 2148394Freely accessible. PMID 18077421. doi:10.1073/pnas.0709572104.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  6. ^ Brodkorb, Pierce (1959). "Pleistocene Birds from New Providence Island, Bahamas" (PDF). Bulletin of the State of Florida Museum. University of Florida. 4 (11): 354. 
  7. ^ Olson, Storrs L. (2008). "A New Species of Large, Terrestrial Caracara from Holocene Deposits in Southern Jamaica (Aves: Falconidae)". Journal of Raptor Research. The Raptor Research Foundation. 42 (4): 265–272. doi:10.3356/JRR-08-18.1. 
  • Dove, C. & R. Banks. 1999. A Taxonomic study of Crested Caracaras (Falconidae). Wilson Bull. 111(3): 330-339. Available online (PDF)

External links

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

Eurasian Spoonbill This article is part of Project Bird Genera, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each genus, including made-up genera.
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