WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – DINNER ISLAND RANCH WMA, FL
This is a photograph taken at Dinner Island Ranch Wildlife Management Area in Florida (Hendry County) of a Crested Caracara. This Crested Caracara photo was taken using a Nikon D90 camera body and a Tamron 28-300mm lens.
Caracara is a genus of the birds of prey in the family Falconidae found throughout a large part of the Americas. The modern species in the genus Caracara were previously considered conspecific (as “Crested Caracara” – a name still widely used for the Northern Caracara) and/or for long placed in the genus Polyborus. Unlike other members of the falcon family that do not construct nests, the caracara builds a stick nest. The caracara is the most terrestrial bird in the falcon group because it spends a great deal of time on the ground.
The Crested Caracara has a body length of 19 – 23 inches, a 4-foot wingspan, and weighs 1 3/4 – 3 1/2 pounds. The bird’s weight varies greatly depending on where it lives. The Crested Caracaras’ preferred habitat is open, lowland countryside, like pastures, savannas, river edges, and ranches. They may also be found in some
forests and marshes. These birds reside in the southwestern United States and Florida, Central America, and South America.
The Crested Caracara is identified as a large, long-legged raptor. It has a black cap with short crest at back. Pale sides of back and neck. Bare red skin on face. Black body. White tail with wide black tip. White patches at ends of dark wings. Faint barring on upper back and breast.