El Carancho

February 27th, 2009 Posted in fauna

Written by Shanie

A visually-stimulating bird and one that makes a fun clicking noise in the forest, is the Carancho. This large, feathered friend is a stout member of the ave species and an enjoyable one to watch flying among the old growth forests of the Nahuel Huapi National Park.

The Carancho, or Southern Crested Caracara, is a bird of prey. It measures at adulthood around 25 inches in length, with a wingspan of 45 inches. Those found in the colder regions of southern Patagonia are known to be a bit larger.

It’s coloring is a mix of brown and white (the youth having a lighter coloring than the adults). Its sturdy appearance begins with a crown of dark, almost black, feathers that has an appearance of a small toupee. The face is a fleshy orange-pink to deep yellow coloring that melts into a sharp, off-white beak. The throat, chest and back are a strong brown, with the legs, wings and belly having a darker tone. The underside of the tale has a white plumage as does the feathers that are shown off in flight. Its legs have a light yellow coloring.

The Carancho is a bold bird that is not afraid to scavenge the ground in search of food, kick out a timid vulture from a carcass or attack another’s nest for edible goodies. It is known to also feed upon such miniature treats as insects or large meals like an oversized rodent.

Their mating is done usually in late spring or early summer. Two eggs are the norm, which are cared for in an open nest placed in the tops of trees.

Although the Carancho is found from Tierra del Fuego (with an isolated population living on the Malvinas Islands) to southern Peru, it is not one that enjoys dense, humid wooded areas like the rain forests of the Amazon. It also tends to stay away from the high Andes. Instead, it is more at home near open forested land and near rivers. It also is known to enjoy semi-inhabited landscapes and is not afraid to mingle with humans.

  1. 2 Responses to “El Carancho”

  2. By changcho on Feb 27, 2009

    Great post and nice pictures! Did you guys take those?

    Dumb question, but since you’re writing about birds. Are there condors near Bariloche?

  3. By Patagonia on Feb 27, 2009

    Changcho,

    Yes, Shanie snapped those pics recently.

    There are many condors in the area. We generally see them at the higher elevations.

    I hope they don’t interfere with your satellite.

    Here are a few old posts on condors.

    http://livinginpatagonia.com/?p=642
    http://livinginpatagonia.com/?p=62
    http://livinginpatagonia.com/?p=387

    Suerte, Jamie

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