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Striated Caracara
Phalcoboenus australis

Status: Near Threatened

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Johnny Rook, Forster's Caracara.

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Phalcoboenus australis
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Distribution: Neotropical.  Islands (Staten, Navarino, Ildefonso, Islas Hornos, Islas Diego Ramirez) off extreme southern CHILE, ARGENTINA, and TIERRA DEL FUEGO (Isla Grande); FALKLAND ISLANDS. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: This genus was formerly merged with Polyborus (now Caracara) (Vuilleumier 1970) or Ibycter, but the data of Griffiths (1994, 1999) and Griffiths et al. (2004) indicated that they are not sister genera and that Phalcoboenus is more closely related to Milvago and Ibycter. Amadon and Bull (1988) considered all four species to form a superspecies, but Sibley and Monroe (1990) excluded P. australis from that group. Others have regarded the Striated Caracara to be a part of a superspecies with P. megalopterus.

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant (Bildstein 2006). Marín et al. (2006) concluded that this species does not occur in Chile in winter. Birds breeding on Tierra del Fuego probably migrate north to the South American mainland in the austral winter (Humphrey et al. 2004), although Marín et al. (op cit.) suspected that some breeding may occur there. Strange (1996) regarded this species, particularly immatures, as being partially nomadic on the Falkland Islands, with post-breeding dispersal from mid-April to July.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in lowlands in the South American portion of its range, particularly along rocky coasts. On the Falklands, it flies or walks toward anyone that comes into its field of view, and juveniles and older non-breeding birds roam in flocks from autumn and gather at settlements (Woods and Woods 2006). It seems to be one of the most fearless birds and is noted for its repertoire of unusual behaviors.

Food and Feeding Behavior: On the Falkland Islands, it feeds on colonial nesting seabirds and is particularly dependent upon young penguins, shag and albatross chicks, and eggs (Woods and Woods 1997). Birds observed in Chile and Falkland Islands were also closely associated with seabird and marine mammal colonies (Marín et al. 2006). This species also takes limpets, or any other meat or carrion, catches prions and storm-petrels, and sometimes attacks lambs and takes the eyes and tongues of fallen sheep (Woods 1988, Woods and Woods 2006). Groups of five or more have been seen to attack adult female Kelp and Upland Geese, immature Gentoo Penguins, and Crested Ducks (Woods 1988). The young are fed mainly on Rockhopper Penguin chicks (Smith and Prince 1985).more....

Breeding: On the Falkland Islands, it builds a bulky nest made of grass or twigs and frequently decorated with lengths of colored polypropylene (Woods and Woods 2006). Nests are placed on low cliff ledges, under large rock slabs, or in tussac (an endemic plant growing in dense thickets) near seabird colonies (Woods and Woods 1997). Many nests have three adults in attendance, all sharing the care of the two or three young (Woods and Woods 2006). Clutch size is 1-3 eggs, which are cream-colored and heavily marked with dark reddish-brown blotches (Woods and Woods 1997, Marín et al. 2006). On the Falklands, breeding begins in late October or early November, and two Tierra del Fuego nests with eggs were found in November.more....

Conservation: Subject to extreme persecution on Falklands, where it has been virtually extirpated on East Falkland Island (Woods and Woods 2006). Purportedly rare in the South American portions of its range (Araya and Chester 1993). However, Marín et al. (2006) found it to be locally abundant on some outer islands in southern Chile and suggested that assumptions about its rarity there might reflect the lack of intensive surveys in its island habitat. BirdLife International (2007) categorizes this species as "Near Threatened." more....

Important References: 
Bierregaard, R.O. 1994. Striated Caracara. P. 250 in del Hoyo, J., A.
  Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New
  World vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Marín, M., A. Kusch, D. Oehler, and S. Drieschman. 2006. Distribution,
  breeding and status of the Striated Caracara Phalcoboenus australis (Gmelin,
  1788) in southern Chile. Anales Instituto Patagonia (Chile) 34:65-74.
Strange, I.J. 1996. The Striated Caracara Phalcoboenus striatus in the
  Falkland Islands. Published by the author, Stanley, Falkland Islands.

Sites of Interest:
Falklands Conservation
Detailed information on the conservation of this species in the Falklands.
Striated Caracara photos.

Balza, Ulises
Marin, Manuel
Silva-Quintas, Carlos
Vargas, Hernan

Last modified: 5/8/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Striated Caracara Phalcoboenus australis. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 4 Jul. 2020

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