Yellow-headed Caracara

Yellow-headed Caracara, Costa Rica

Yellow-headed Caracara, Costa Rica

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


18 thoughts on “Yellow-headed Caracara

  1. Interesting that this beautiful bird has adjusted to urban living but in a way a little sad. I observed a black and yellow bird flying almost like a helicopter last night – an amazing sight! Love your beautiful photos! Jan

    • It’s always fun to see with whom we share our sky. The caracaras are fun raptors to observe because they have light colors and are therefore more easily identifiable than many of the brown and black raptors. Thanks Jan! 🙂

  2. Lovely bird. It’s interesting how some birds of prey seem to adapt to thrive in unlikely surroundings: peregrine falcons nesting on skyscrapers and feeding on pigeons; similarly with red-tailed hawks – they even nest in the Washington Arch in NYC… RH

  3. Interesting species dear Jet and a real looker,especially for having a yellow head ! It’s astonishing that it has adjusted to urban places and that it even eats ticks off a cattle.I can visualise the scene and I am thinking that it’s so sweet when animals can co-exist without having to extinct each other.An utopia,I know … ,but I would love it !
    Thank you once again for this compelling post 🙂 xoxoxo

    • Yes, the caracaras are unique, and it’s great that they’re adapting to the world’s changes. There are many animals who co-exist and even live symbiotically, and this is a wonderful thing, as you pointed out. Oh Doda, such a pleasure to hear from you! 😀 ♥

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s