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Black Caracara
Daptrius ater

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Yellow-throated Caracara.

Daptrius ater
click to enlarge
Distribution: Neotropical.  Eastern COLOMBIA, southern VENEZUELA, and the GUIANAS south through Amazonia to eastern PERU, northeastern BOLIVIA and central BRAZIL. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Formerly considered to be congeneric with the Red-throated Caracara on the basis of plumage color and by tarsal and toe characters (Friedmann 1950, Brown and Amadon 1968), but Griffiths (1994) found that the two species are quite different in syringeal morphology in addition to having well documented differences in habitat preferences and behavior. Her results suggested that this species is closely related to the Milvago clade of caracaras, whereas the Red-throated Caracara is closer to Polyborus (now Caracara). Consequently, the two species, Red-throated Caracara and Black Caracara, are now placed in separate, monotypic genera, Daptrius and Ibycter, respectively.

Movements: Probably non-migratory.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in lowlands and middle elevations, frequenting tall humid forest and forest edges, especially along river banks, sandbars, swamps, forest openings, and also near ranches. Typically moves around in family groups of several birds. Robinson (1994) and his colleagues found this species to be quite tame around their campsites in MAnu National Park, Peru. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: A dietary generalist, preying on the larvae of large beetles, ants, amphibians, reptiles, passerine nestlings, small mammals, fish, and certain fruits, and taking carrion (Sick 1993). Picks ticks off tapirs and deer like other species may do from cattle, and tends to forage in burned-over areas. more....

Breeding: A Brazilian nest was a fairly small stick structure located in the top of a large clump of bromeliads in the crown of a tree (Whittaker 1996). Muņiz-Lopez et al. (2007) mentioned a nest in Ecuador containing three young and located in a palm (Mauritia flexuosa). Eggs at the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology have a white ground color, but are almost completely suffused with reddish-brown pigment, resembling eggs of Caracara and Herpetotheres.

Conservation: Widespread, but status is not well defined in most areas. Its population is increasing in Ecuador (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001) and Venezuela (Hilty 2003), as it moves into newly cleared areas, but Thiollay (2007) suspected that its patchy distribution in French Guiana may be due to human hunting pressure. Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International (2007). more....

Important References: 
Bierregaard, R.O. 1994. Black Caracara. P. 249 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.
Whittaker, A. 1996. Nesting records of the genus Daptrius (Falconidae)
  from the Brazilian Amazon, with the first documented nest of the Black
  Caracara. Ararajuba 4:107-109.

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

Last modified: 5/8/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: Black Caracara Daptrius ater. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 25 Jul. 2021

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