Crested Caracara

 Range: Southern Arizona and Texas to Brazil and Peru. Also in Florida and Cuba. Known to stray as far north as British Columbia, Michigan, and Nova Scotia.

Habitat: Open country, such as grasslands, semi-desert, and pastureland. They generally prefer arid habitats.

Diet: Insects, lizards, rodents, amphibians, carrion and occasionally fish. 

Lifespan: Average 9-10 years in the wild, over 30 years in human care.



 She was hit by a semi-truck outside of Austin, Texas and stuck on the front grille for 100 miles. She only has partial flight due to a broken wing. Her name means lucky in Spanish. She arrived at Turtle Bay on May 2, 2012.

Fun Facts

  • Although these birds look more like a chicken or a vulture, they are actually members of the falcon family.
  • They are one of the few raptors that spend extensive time on the ground, often hunting on foot.
  • They frequently join vultures at a carcass.
  • The Crested Caracara is the ‘Mexican Eagle’ portrayed in folklore, even though they are not closely related to an eagle.
  • They get their name from the black cap of feathers on the top of the head.  They can slightly elevate the crest.
  • The Crested Caracara is the second largest of the ten species of caracaras, following their close cousin, the Southern Caracara
  • These birds are also known as the Northern Crested Caracara, since they are replaced in southern South America by the similar Southern Caracara. The two species were once grouped as one species.