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Mexican Buzzard

Mexican Buzzard
Photo Information
Copyright: Jim White (jmirah) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 509 W: 5 N: 1141] (4687)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-25
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR, 67mm UV filter
Exposure: f/8, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-11-15 1:11
Viewed: 12897
Points: 28
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Crested Caracara
Caracara cheriway



* Mexican Eagle
* Mexican Buzzard
* Northern Caracara
* Audubon's Caracara
* Caracara du Nord (French)
* Carancho, Caraira, Quelele, Totache (Spanish)

Info on the Crested Caracara

The distinctive Crested Caracara “combines the raptorial instincts of the eagle with the base carrion-feeding habits of the vulture” (Hudson 1920). Called ignoble, miserable, and aggressive, yet also dashing, stately, and noble, this medium-sized raptor, with its bold black-and-white plumage pattern and bright yellow-orange face and legs, is easily recognizable as it perches conspicu-ously on a high point within its territory. In flight it can be distinguished by its regular, powerful wing-beats as it cruises low across the ground or just above the treetops. Known locally as the “Mexican buzzard” for its habit of scavenging alongside vultures, the Crested Caracara is an opportunist and is commonly seen walking about open fields and pastures, feeding on a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate prey, as well as on carrion. The name “caracara” is said to be of Guarani Indian origin, traro-traro, derived from the unusual rattling vocalization that the bird utters when agitated.

The Crested Caracara is a bird of open habitats, typically grassland, prairie, pastures, or desert with scattered taller trees, shrubs, or cacti in which it nests. Adult pairs are generally monogamous and highly territorial, and exhibit strong site fidelity. Young remain with their parents for several months after fledging, although at some sites, two broods are raised per year. Consistently gregarious, immatures often congregate in groups, sometimes roosting and feeding with vultures.

While the Crested Caracara ranges from northern Mexico to Tierra del Fuego (Fig. 1), in the United States it occurs only along the southern border in Texas and Arizona, and in Florida, where there is an isolated population in the south-central peninsula. This species was first described in the United States in 1831 by John James Audubon, who collected a specimen near St. Augustine, Florida (Audubon 1840). Named for its founder, Caracara plancus audubonii is one of four currently recognized subspecies and is found in the southern United States, parts of Mexico and Central America, and Cuba. C. p. pallidus is found only on the Tres Marías Islands of western Mexico; C. p. cheriway and C. p. plancus occur in South America.

Although the Florida, Arizona, Texas, and Baja California, Mexico, populations have received recent attention, this species is relatively little studied throughout its range. Rapid urban and agricultural development in Florida has resulted in loss of nesting habitat, and in 1987 this population was classified as Threatened by both the federal government and the state of Florida. In parts of Texas and South America, expansion of the poultry industry, land-clearing, and habitat conversion to ranching and agriculture may be benefiting the species. In other regions, direct human persecution continues, primarily via shooting and poisoning, mostly because of negative attitudes towards scavengers.

The Birds of North America Online

loot, hansh, CeltickRanger, nglen, Miss_Piggy, nasokoun, Argus, Noisette, pierrefonds has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2009-11-15 1:27]
  • [3]

Hi Jim

What else can one say, but WOW.
Perfect timing. I'm just not sure if it came in to land, is it about to take off,
or is it just streching its wings? Which ever way, it looks soooooo natural.
The details are well captured and the colours are brilliant.
The composition might have included a little less sky on the left and
a bit more on the right, but that is no big deal, it's just the way I see it.

Very well done and TFS.

  • Great 
  • hansh Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 277 W: 1 N: 741] (2762)
  • [2009-11-15 1:30]

Hello Jim.

A very very nice picture with nice bright colors.
Sharpness is perfect.
Congratulations on making this and thnks for sharing to us.

Gr. Hans

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-11-15 1:37]

Hello Jim,
Superb photo of this Crested Caracara. Everything in this photo is of a high quality standard. Nothing to critize. Congratulations!
TFS and regards,

PRECIOSA TOMA DE ESTA IMPRESIONANTE AVE QUE AQUÍ NO TENEMOS. No se a que distancia tomaste la fotografía, pero creo que sacaste un buen partido a esa lente.
Saludos Jim: Josep Ignasi.

hello Jim

excellent close-up photo of the Crested Caracara,
with fine frontal POV, fine focus excellent sharpness
and details, you shooted the photo at the bird's pose best moment,



hello Jim
veru nice composition
great details of the bird and beautiful colours
greting lou

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-11-15 9:44]

Hi Jim. This is a very large looking bird. The Crested Caracara
is a bird i have not seen before so thanks for posting this fine close up. It seems to have its eye fixed on you. taken with good detail and natural colours. I like the pose with its wings just about to open up. well taken TFS.

Hello Jim,

I remember seeing another photo (in your collection) of the same bird. This time, the pose is much more striking and captures the bird with an attitude that expresses more of their characteristics. The result is very good. I'm surprising you versatility as photographer, making good pictures of insects and birds. Good work. Congratulations!



Hallo Jim
The features on this bird are really exquisite. The variation of colours on the chest feathers stands out very well and is rather eye-catching, just as much as red face and yellow legs. You have captured the intense stare action and the bird’s emotion very well. The colours of the overall photograph are just great and your photography brought it out to its best. Great camerawork in all aspects. I appreciate your sharing this lovely Crested Caracara with us. Best regards.

hello Jim
splendid pose is elected from your POV, the output in colours very good with explicit good details!
keep photographing! TFS

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-11-16 5:54]

Hello Jim,
A fine full-frame capture of a crested Caracara opening (or folding) its wings taken from a fine semi-frontal POV with excellent sharpness and lighting against a blue sky.
TFS this and for taking my greenfinch image as a favorite!
Have a good week,

Hellow Jim,
Great capture of this majestic animal.Correct exposure and depth bringing out its wonderful shades of colours as well as the eye contact being a bonus.Great shot.

Helo Jim
what a great shot ! this Crested Caracara is a so beautiful bird, nice pose and wings position, brilliant details and superb blue sky
ilike his look directly in the camera
Have a good night

Hi Jim,

The bird on the piece of wood seem to be aiming at the photographer. The point of view is showing the details and colors of the mexican buzzard. The picture is clear and sharp. The late afternoon light has a good effect on the colors. have a nice day.


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