A very impressive bird of prey in the falcon family, the Yellow-headed Caracara can be found in South and Central America. We saw this beauty while visiting Costa Rica.
Unlike most falcons, Milvago chimachimas do not hunt in the air but prefer to scavenge. They eat amphibians and reptiles, as well as carrion and some invertebrates. Sometimes called “tickbirds,” they have been known to eat ticks off of cattle.
Refreshingly, this bird is not being crowded off the earth by humans. Commonly seen in Latin American cities, it has adjusted to urban territories and even hunts off rooftops. The variable diet is a key to survival too. Measuring about 17 inches in length, we have a good chance of enjoying this adaptable warrior for generations to come.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander