Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Personal tools
Main Categories

Yellow-headed Caracara

From Opus

Adult, nominate subspeciesPhoto © by DecaGonalves, MG, Brazil, 31 October 2004
Adult, nominate subspecies
Photo © by Deca
Gonalves, MG, Brazil, 31 October 2004
Milvago chimachima


[edit] Identification

41-46 cm (16-18 in)

  • Buff head
  • Black streak behind the eye
  • Buff underparts
  • Brown upperparts
  • Pale patches on the flight feathers
  • Tail barred cream and brown

Sexes similar but the female is slightly larger than the male.
Immature birds are heavily mottled with brown and buff.

[edit] Variations

The northern subspecies M. c. cordata averages darker buff head and underparts, narrower dark tail bands, and less white in its wing compared to the paler nominate race in the southern part of its range.

Juvenile, subspecies cordataPhoto © by DABSOrange Grove, Trinidad, 8 May 2018
Juvenile, subspecies cordata
Photo © by DABS
Orange Grove, Trinidad, 8 May 2018

[edit] Distribution

Central and South America: breeds in south-west Costa Rica and Panama and in South America from Colombia, Venezuela and the Guianas south to Paraguay and southern Brazil and west to Ecuador, eastern Peru and eastern Bolivia. Common in much of range.

[edit] Taxonomy

Forms a superspecies with Chimango Caracara.

[edit] Subspecies

Two subspecies are recognized:[1]

  • M.c. cordata:
  • M.c. chimachima:

[edit] Habitat

Wooded savanna, open woodland and forest edge.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

The diet includes reptiles, amphibians, small animals and carrion; it takes ticks from cattle.

[edit] Breeding

Nests in a stick platform in the top of a tree. Occasionally uses the old nest of other species. Clutch is 2 white eggs suffused with buffy or reddish-brown color.

[edit] Vocalisation

Most common call is a loud descending whistle.

[edit] Movements

A resident species.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2018). Yellow-headed Caracara (Milvago chimachima). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 10 January 2018).
  3. Blake, E.R. (1977) Manual of Neotropical Birds, Vol. 1. Univ. Chicago Press.
  4. Yellow-headed Caracara (Milvago chimachima), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:
  5. Global Raptor Information Network. 2019. Species account: Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima. Downloaded from on 13 Aug. 2019
  6. Schulenberg, T. S. & Stotz, D. F. & Lane, D. F. & O'Neill, J. P. & Parker III, T. A. & Egg, A. B. (2010). Birds of Peru: Revised and Updated Edition. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691130231

[edit] External Links


Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.26339507 seconds with 8 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 07:22.