It has a total length of 50–65 cm (20–26 in) and a wingspan of 120–132 cm (47–52 in). Weight is 0.9-1.6 kg (2-3.5 lbs), averaging 1,348 g (2.972 lb) in 7 birds from Tierra del Fuego. Individuals from the colder southern part of its range average larger than those from tropical regions (as predicted by Bergmann’s rule) and are the largest type of caracara. In fact, they are the second largest species of falcon in the world by mean body mass, second only to the gyrfalcon. The cap, belly, thighs, most of the wings and tail-tip are dark brownish, the auriculars, throat and nape are whitish-buff, and the chest, neck, mantle, back, uppertail-coverts, crissum and basal part of the tail are whitish-buff barred dark brownish. In flight, the outer primaries show a large conspicuous whitish-buff patch (‘window’), as in several other species of caracaras. The legs are yellow and the bare facial skin and cere are deep yellow to reddish-orange. Juveniles resemble adults, but are paler, with streaking on the chest, neck and back, grey legs, and whitish, later pinkish-purple, facial skin and cere.
It can be separated from the similar northern caracara by its more extensive barring on the chest, brownish and often lightly mottled/barred scapulars (all blackish in northern), and pale lower back with dark barring (uniform blackish in northern). Individuals showing intermediate features are known from the small area of contact in north-central Brazil, but intergradation between the two species is generally limited.
A bold, opportunistic raptor, the southern crested caracara is often seen walking around on the ground looking for food. It mainly feeds on carcasses of dead animals, but will steal food from other raptors, raid bird nests, and take live prey if the possibility arises (mostly insects or other small prey, but at least up to the size of a snowy egret). It is dominant over the black and turkey vulture at carcasses. It is typically solitary, but several individuals may gather at a large food source (e.g. dumps). Breeding takes place in the austral spring/summer in the southern part of its range, but timing is less strict in warmer regions. The nest is a large open structure, typically placed on the top of a tree or palm, but sometimes on the ground. Average clutch size is two eggs.
Text taken from Wikipedia
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In July 1984 the boy José Percílio found a dead bird: “I thought it was a duck and I was very sad about his death, but happy to find an egg in it. I removed the egg and put to hatch along with the eggs of a chicken. 28 days later, on August 25, 1984, the same day I turned seven years, Tito was born a caracara. Through him I learned to communicate with birds. We were getting to know and I learned that he gave me back everything I offered him, if I gave affection, he reciprocated. We reap whatever plant. Birds are very intelligent and sensitive. It is a relationship of friendship and respect. ”
Thus began the love story that resulted in what is now the “Park of the Hawks,” a sanctuary that creates and recovers: falcons, hawks, and owls caracaras.
Located at the foot of the Sierra de Itabaiana in Sergipe, a state in northeastern Brazil, the Park of the Hawks is one of the few places in the country with authorization from IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment) for the captive breeding of poultry prey that inhabit the Brazilian sky.
Although self-taught, Percílio has become a world reference in the management, reproduction and rehabilitation of these animals, accumulating a great knowledge about their behavior.
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