Carunculated Caracara (Phalcoboenus carunculatus)

Carunculated Caracara

[order] FALCONIFORMES | [family] Falconidae | [latin] Phalcoboenus carunculatus | [authority] Des Murs, 1853 | [UK] Carunculated Caracara | [FR] Caracara caroncule | [DE] Streifenkarakara | [ES] Caracara Carunculado | [NL] Lelcaracara


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Phalcoboenus carunculatus SA Ecuador, sw Colombia


Phalcoboenus is a small genus of birds of prey in the Falconidae family. They are found in barren, open habitats in the Andes, Patagonia and the Falkland Islands. The four species are almost entirely allopatric. The adults are distinctive, with bare yellow, orange or red facial skin and cere, and a black plumage with variable amounts of white. Juveniles are overall brown with pale pinkish-grey facial skin and cere. They are highly opportunistic and typically seen walking on the ground, where they will feed on carrion and virtually any small animal they can catch

Physical charateristics

It resembles the closely related Mountain Caracara, but unlike that species its chest and upper belly is black with dense white streaks. Juveniles are far less distinctive than the orange-faced pied adults, being overall brown with dull pinkish-grey facial skin.

Listen to the sound of Carunculated Caracara

[audio: Caracara.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Charlie Vogt

wingspan min.: 105 cm wingspan max.: 115 cm
size min.: 50 cm size max.: 56 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


South America : Ecuador, Southwest Colombia. Carunculated Caracara is found only in the high Andean paramo of Ecuador and southern Colombia.


Occurs in montane areas in open grasslands, bushy pastures, and paramo areas, often around cattle. Soars much of the time, either singly or in pairs.


The nest is a stick structure placed on rock ledges, and the clutch size is usually 2 eggs. Eggs are laid in September-October and the young fledge by January

Feeding habits

Feeds on carrion and a wide variety of live prey, including rabbits, rats, lizards, frogs, toads, small birds, earthworms, and insects. It often forages by walking or running about on the ground. It is by some characterized as filling the ecological role of crows and ravens of temperate regions.

Video Carunculated Caracara


copyright: Richard Garrigues


Although this species may have a restricted range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The Carunculated Caracara is the most northerly member of the Mountain Caracara superspecies. Members of this group of species are distributed from Colombia south along the Andes to Patagonia and the Falkland Islands, but the Carunculated Caracara is found only in the high Andean paramo of Ecuador and southern Colombia. It is the only caracara at these elevations and easily is identified by its predominantly black plumage and foraging behavior. It occurs in family groups of up to eight which roam the paramo searching for almost anything edible, including worms, maggots, rodents, birds, lizards, and even vegetable matter. Despite the catholic diet, there is considerable local variation, and the consumption of certain food items can change drastically even from one mountain to another
Carunculated Caracara status Least Concern


Irruptive or local migrant

Distribution map

Carunculated Caracara distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *