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Crested Caracara

Crested Caracara

Crested Caracara

Photographed alongside SR 46 between Geneva, Florida and the St. John’s River on November 05, 2009. Not far from the Geneva Tavern. This is my first time seeing a Crested Caracara in the wild. I heard they lived in this area so I decided to take this road to and from Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. I saw this bird in a tree while cruising along at 55 mph. I was fortunate to have wonderful afternoon light at about 4:00 pm.

Whatbird: Large, ground-dwelling falcon with black body and finely barred tail, wing panels and upper breast. Head crest is black, facial skin is red, and large bill is blue-gray and hooked. Legs are long and yellow. Sexes are similar. Juvenile has brown-streaked upper half of body and white-spotted wings.

Found from Baja California to eastern Texas, south to Panama. Preferred habitats include prairies, savannas, desert scrub, and seashores.

A common subject of folklore and legends throughout Central and South America, the Crested Caracara is sometimes referred to as the “Mexican eagle.”

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