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Yellow-headed Caracara

Yellow-headed Caracara
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2013-09-20
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/8, 1/4000 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite bird in-flight photos 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2014-08-12 5:34
Viewed: 1439
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
A rare species on Treknature. Only two photos with the last one in 2006.

The Yellow-headed Caracara (Milvago chimachima) is a bird of prey in the family Falconidae. It is found in tropical and subtropical South America and the southern portion of Central America. Unlike the falcons in the same family, the caracara is not a fast-flying aerial hunter, but is rather sluggish and often obtains food by scavenging.

When Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot first described the Yellow-headed Caracara in 1816, he gave it the scientific name Polyborus chimachima, putting it in the same genus as the rest of the caracaras. In 1824, German naturalistJohann Baptist von Spix created the genus Milvago for this species and the closely related Chimango Caracara.

The Yellow-headed Caracara is 41–46 cm centimeters in length and weighs 325 g on average. Like many other birds of prey, the female is larger than the male, weighing 310–360 g against the male's 280–330 g. Apart from the difference in size, there is no significant sexual dimorphism in this species. It is broad-winged and long-tailed, somewhat resembling a small Buteo. The adult has a buff head, with a black streak behind the eye, and buff underparts. The upper plumage is brown with distinctive pale patches on the flight feathers of the wings, and the tail is barred cream and brown. The head and underparts of immature birds have dense brown mottling.
The voice is a characteristic screamed schreee.

Distribution and habitat
This is a bird of savanna, swamps and forest edges. Resident from Costa Rica south through Trinidad and Tobago to northern Argentina (the provinces of Misiones, Chaco, Formosa,Corrientes and Santa Fe), it is typically found from sea level to 1,800 m, and occasionally to 2,600 m above mean sea level. In southern South America, it is replaced by a close relative, the Chimango Caracara, whose range overlaps with that of the yellow-headed caracara in southern Brazil, northern Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. A larger and stouter paleosubspecies, Milvago chimachima readei, occurred in Florida and possibly elsewhere some tens of thousand years ago, during the Late Pleistocene. According to thePeregrine Fund database, the Yellow-headed Caracara is expanding its range into Nicaragua.

Behavior and ecology
The Yellow-headed Caracara is omnivorous, and will eat reptiles, amphibians and other small animals as well as carrion. Birds are rarely if ever taken, and this species will not elicit warning calls from mixed-species feeding flocks that cross its path even in open cerrado habitat. It will also take ticks from cattle, and is locally called "tickbird". It has been observed also to forage for small invertebrates in the fur of brown-throated three-toed sloths. In addition, at least younger birds are fond of certain fruits, such as those of the Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) and Pequi (Caryocar brasiliense). It lays from five to seven brown-marked buff eggs in a stick nest in a tree.
The Yellow-headed Caracara has benefited from forest clearing for cattle ranching. Its status in Trinidad has changed from rare to fairly common, and it was first seen on Tobago in 1987. It adapts readily to urban areas and, together with species such as the American Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus), it is among the most commonly seen bird of prey in Latin American cities. Consequently, this wide-ranging species has been assigned a risk level ofLeast Concern category on the IUCN Red List. In Panama City for example, as a result of the increased urban sprawl, Yellow-headed Caracara pairs are frequently seen along the rooftops in suburban neighborhoods.


Hussain58, Hotelcalifornia, Alex99, anel, pierrefonds, Chiza, tuslaw, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To anel: How many shotsPeterZ 1 08-13 08:13
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • john1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 122 W: 0 N: 439] (3410)
  • [2014-08-12 6:52]

Hi Peter,

Excellent angle of view, great détails and texture of the wings.
The sharpness is good and the B/G is superb for the composition.
TFS, great job.
my best regards.
john vantighem

Hello Peter,
Am still using the PROXY IP connection to get into TN; my server is still looking into this matter.
This Yellow-headed Caracara is a 10/10 image. Loved your notes too; but, I cannot mark "useful" as the PROXY connection does not permit its use. Had seen them in Manaus.
Shall try ... TRY ... once more to "upload" an image; may not work for me.
Best and most kind regards from this great land of total BLISS & PEACE, Canada.

hallo Peter
Super goed de ogen te zien en nog wel in vlucht genomen
goed scherp en prachtige kleuren
je hebt er toch nog wel wat om op TN te zetten
gr lou

Hello Peter,

Hope you are well and the family is OK as well. I am back after quite some time and am happy to see friends like you busy posting, means a lot to us.Indeed a fine and rare shot though taken from a distance and a bit grainy on the wings perhaps but it has been captured in its typical posture and this sharing rare things is the beauty of TN.......so a great contribution. The bird from a distance has not lost that beautiful shine in its eye. Thanks a lot for sharing a superb shot, take care,

warm regards/Abid

Hello Peter-Beautiful flying picture of this rare posted(Here in TN)species.Very good focus and sharpness.I like blue sky against it.Nice colour too.Thanks for sharing.Regards and have a nice time-Srikumar

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2014-08-12 8:43]

Hi Peter,a spectacular in flight capture,what a timing and what a magnificent wings position,perfect exposure and impressive detail despite the fast mouvement! Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

Hello Peter,
I am impressed by the magnificent sharpness and the superb details of this image despite that the bird is in flight..... The composition is wonderful. Very nice colors and outstanding clarity. It is a superb photo with best clarity. Lovely contrast against the sky.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2014-08-12 8:53]

Hi Peter.
Great in-flight picture of a lovely bird. POV and wingspread are amazing as well as tack sharp details , wonderful lighting and natural colours. Perfect job. TFS and best regards.

Hi Peter. This Caracara looks charming the way you captured him in flight. Nice posture. Focus and sharpness good. Colours aren't the strongest in this light but still good. The powder blue sky really adds to the shot. A very serene shot. TFS Trevor

Excellent capture.........

Hi Peter,
Brilliant in all aspects. Incredible clarity, focus and sharp details. Very nice image. I like this interesting "one-eye look". The colors and contrast of this image are amazing.
Thanks for sharing!

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2014-08-13 0:43]
  • [+]

Hello Peter,
Amazing how many shots you brought back from Brazil..interesting to read your notes too, a rare species on TN, always excellent. Fine natural picture of this flying Caracara.
Kind regards

Another interesting bird Peter! Impressive in flight photo with very good composition, wonderful colours and very good sharpness

Hi Peter,

The subject is well framed. The point of view is showing the details and the colors of the ellow-headed Caracara in flight. The eye contact is good. The good luminosity is enhancing the colors. Have a nice day.


  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2014-08-13 18:44]

Hola Peter, una hermosa especie bien congelada en vuelo...hermosa toma...saludos.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2014-08-13 19:14]

Hello Peter,
A wonderful inflight shot of this rarely seen bird here on TN. I like the way the wings and tail are edged in black and also the black streak just behind the eye. Good eye contact and nice sharp focus. Attractive blue sky for a BG. Just by viewing it's streamlined body I would never have guessed that it is a sluggish flyer. Great notes!!

Hello Peter

WOW ! a rare photo of this species of bird and it is an in-flight shot,
you focused it superbly with excellent sharpness, and details,
with the frontal POV obtaining its lovely eye-contact, TFS


Impressive MF Peter. Stunnin g details perfetc sharp againt the soft blue like BG.


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