Home | Species Database | Species Accounts | Bibliography | Researchers | Related Sites | Login

Mountain Caracara
Phalcoboenus megalopterus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Andean Caracara.

Phalcoboenus megalopterus
click to enlarge
Distribution: Neotropical.  Andes from extreme southern ECUADOR and northern PERU (Piura) through BOLIVIA to northwestern ARGENTINA and central CHILE (Cochagua). more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: This genus was formerly merged with Polyborus (now Caracara) (Vuilleumier 1970) or Ibycter, but the molecular 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. This species was formerly considered to include P. albogularis and P. carunculatus, but is now generally treated as a superspecies with those forms and possibly also with P. australis (Amadon and Bull 1988). Hellmayr and Conover (1949) regarded P. megalopterus as a race of P. albogularis, with which it may hybridize. Poulsen (1993) showed that it does not hybridize with P. carunculatus where their ranges overlap in southern Ecuador. more....

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant (Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: Occurs mostly in the puna zone at 3,500-5,000 m, but descends regularly to the coast in Peru (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990). Occurs mostly in open puna grassland, around montane lakes, in heavily grazed areas, and on recently plowed land. Frequently seen walking, often a pair or an adult with one juvenile together, or occasionally in flocks containing hundreds of birds, and may also roost in large flocks on cliffs (Fjeldså and Krabbe op cit.).

Food and Feeding Behavior: An opportunistic feeder, preying on live lizards and rodents, but also feeding in city dumps or sharing carrion with Andean Condors. Frequently found walking on ground, usually singly or in pairs, but sometimes foraging or roosting in large aggregations of hundreds of birds on plowed fields (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990).

Breeding: Nests are large structures of dried guano, placed on rock ledges. Clutch size is usually 2 (occasionally 3) eggs with a creamy-white ground color and a heavy, almost complete suffusion of reddish and dark-brown pigment. In the southern part of the range, eggs are laid in October-November (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990).

Conservation: Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International.

Important References: 
Bierregaard, R.O. 1994. Mountain Caracara. Pp. 249-250 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.
Donadio, E., M.J. Bolgeri, and A. Wurstten 2007. First quantitative data
  on the diet of the Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus). Journal of
  Raptor Research 41:328-330.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Figueroa Rojas, R., S. Alvarado Orellana, and E.C.S. Stappung. 2004. Notes
  on a range expansion and summer diet of the Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus
in the Andes of south-central Chile. Journal of Raptor
  Research 38:290-292.
Fjeldså, J., and N. Krabbe. 1990. Birds of the high Andes. Zoological
  Museum, University of Copenhagen and Apollo Books, Svendborg, Denmark.
Housse, P.R. 1938. El tiuque cordillerano (Phalcoboenus meganopterus)
  (Meyen). Revista de Chilena Historia Natural 41:131-134.
Jones, J. 1999. Cooperative foraging in the Mountain Cararaca in Peru.
  Wilson Bulletin 111:437-439.
Poulsen, B.O. 1993. A contact zone between Mountain and Carunculated
  Caracaras in Ecuador. Wilson Bulletin 105:688-691.
White, C.M., and D.A. Boyce. 1987. Notes on the Mountain Caracara
  Phalcoboenus megalopterus in the Argentine puna. Wilson Bulletin
  99:283-284. more....

Sites of Interest:
Mountain Caracara photos.

Alvarado Orellana, Sergio Alfredo
Marin, Manuel

Last modified: 12/20/2009

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

Home | Species Database | Species Accounts | Bibliography | Researchers | Related Sites | Login

Copyright © 1999-2012 The Peregrine Fund. All Rights Reserved.