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Plain Chachalaca - BirdForum Opus

Photo by bobsofpa
Sabal Palm Sanctuary, Texas, USA, April 2005
Ortalis vetula


48–58 cm (19-23 in)

  • Long-necked
  • Small head
  • Bare throat
  • Greyish head and neck
  • Dull olive-brown body and wings
  • Pale underbelly
  • Blackish tail with green gloss and buffy white tip
  • Brown iris
  • Black bill
  • Dull grey orbital skin and feet


Photo by bobsofpa
Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center, Texas, USA, April 2016

North and Central America
North America: Georgia, Texas
Central America: Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.



There are 4 subspecies[1]:

  • O. v. mccalli:
  • Extreme southern Texas to north-eastern Mexico (northern Veracruz)
  • O. v. vetula:
South East Mexico (southern Veracruz) to north-western Costa Rica
  • O. v. pallidiventris:
  • South East Mexico (northern Yucatán Peninsula)
  • O. v. deschauenseei


Thickets and scrub with tall brushy vegetation; also secondary grown in lowland areas.



Their diet consists of a wide variety of fruits, including blackberries. They also eat some seeds, leaves and flowers.


The nest is a shallow saucer made of twigs and plant material, lined with leaves. The clutch consists of 2-4 whitish-cream eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved June 2016)

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