Friday, March 30, 2012

Crested Caracara

San Simeon Rangers report that a Crested Caracara has been spotted hanging around the Elephant Seal area.  It's a South American bird that has never been spotted this far north.

The Cornell Ornithology Lab describes the caracara as: A tropical falcon version of a vulture, the Crested Caracara reaches the United States only in Arizona, Texas, and Florida. It is a bird of open country, where it often is seen at carrion with vultures.  

Large, long-legged raptor. Black cap with short crest at back. Pale sides of back and neck. Bare red skin on face. Black body. White tail with wide black tip. White patches at ends of dark wings. Faint barring on upper back and breast.

The Peregrine Fund says that it's 19 - 23 inches long, weighs 1 3/4 - 3 1/2 pounds and has a four-foot wingspan.  It notes that: The caracara is the most terrestrial bird in the falcon group. It spends a great deal of time on the ground.

I sure hope I'm around to get a picture of him!

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