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Chimango Caracara
Milvago chimango

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Increasing.

Other Names: Chimango, Chimango Carrion-Hawk, Chimango Hawk, Tinque.

Milvago chimango
click to enlarge
Distribution: Neotropical. Southern BRAZIL and northern CHILE south to TIERRA DEL FUEGO and southern ARGENTINA, PARAGUAY, and URUGUAY. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. M. c. chimango: Northern and central CHILE and northern and central ARGENTINA to URUGUAY and adjacent BRAZIL; introduced to EASTER ISLAND; M. c. temucoensis: Southern CHILE and southern ARGENTINA from 37ºS to northern TIERRA DEL FUEGO. more....

Taxonomy: This species and the Yellow-headed Caracara were formerly included in Ibycter with all other caracara species (Sharpe 1874). They were first separated into Milvago by Kirke Swann (1922). Peters (1931) recognized four caracara genera, and this treatment was followed by Brown and Amadon (1968), who commented, however, on the close relationship of Polyborus, Phalacoboenus, and Milvago. Vuilleumier (1970) recommended that these three genera be merged into a a single genus, Polyborus (now Caracara), and Griffiths (1994) could find no difference between Milvago and Phalcoboenus on the basis of syringeal characters. Most recent authorities have recognized Milvago as a valid genus, but the relationships of the caracaras clearly need further study. This species forms a superspecies with M. chimango, although they may be sympatric in some areas.

Movements: Partial migrant (Bildstein 2006). Sick (1993) mentioned that isolated individuals in Brazil migrate well to the north of their usual nesting areas. Its movements in Argentina seem complex, with apparently resident birds in some areas and seasonal movements in others. According to Ortiz and Capplonch (2007), birds breeding in the Cuyan, Patagonian, and Fuegian zones of Argentina migrate northward along the Andes in the non-breeding season to northern Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru, and those breeding in central Argentina also migrate northward at least to Brazil. According to Olrog (1962), the Tierra del Fuego population and the Argentina population of M.c. temucoensis migrate northward to Catamarca, Tucumán, and Salta in the non-breeding season. more....

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in open areas of lowlands, including savannas, cultivated fields, marshes, ocean beaches, and around towns. It is the most commn raptor species in some cities, including Santiago (Jaksic and Torres-Mura 2000). Often spends the night on ground in large flocks. It is attracted to burned-over areas and follows plows in large flocks. Frequently occurs in flocks of 30 or more birds. Aggressive and territorial, but generally unwary around humans (Couve and Vidal 2004).more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: A dietary opportunist. Feeds on carrion of all sorts, especially road kills, picks ticks off the backs of cattle, steals turtle eggs on beaches, takes bird eggs and nestlings, and will even attack adult birds (Sick 1993). Also takes small rodents, insects (mainly orthopterans), worms, small fish, shrimp, and even toads, which are shunned by many predators. May forage in city dumps, or around any sort of human habitation on a variety of trash and refuse.more....

Breeding: Nests are typically located 5-15 meters high in the crotch or top of a small tree. They are cup-shaped structures, made of dead sticks and lined with soft materials, including grass, horsehair, wool, and rags. Clutch size is 2-4 eggs, with a creamy-white ground color and strongly suffused with reddish-brown pigment. Both sexes participate in nest-building, incubation, feeding the young, and defending the nest. On Chiloe Island off Chile, the incubation period was approximately 32 days (Morrison et al. 2000), but it was only 26-27 days in Argentina (Fraga and Salvador 1986). The nestling period in the Chiloe study was 41 days at one nest (Morrison et al. op cit.) and 32-34 days in Argentina (Fraga and Salvador op cit.).more....

Conservation: Common to abundant throughout its range, and probably moving into new areas. Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International (2007). more....

Sites of Interest:
Chimango Caracara photos.
Aves de Rapina do Brasil
Species account with emphasis on Brazil.

Galmes, Maximiliano Adrián
Jaksic, Fabián
Leveau, Lucas
Marin, Manuel
Mojica, Libby
Morrison, Joan
Sarasola, José Hernán
Silveira da Silva, Elsimar

Last modified: 6/5/2012

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Chimango Caracara Milvago chimango. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 26 May. 2020

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