During a recent one week vacation in Cuba I was able to capture a few images of a captive Crested Caracara. The bird’s owner was very congenial and interacted with many of the tourists. His Crested Caracara was quite tame and would gently perch on people’s forearms.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
The Crested Caracara is a member of the falcon family and is seen in southern parts of Texas, Arizona, California and in areas of Florida. Its range extends through Mexico, Central America and into northern areas of South America. The northern species is also found in Cuba. There is another species of Crested Caracara that is found in South America.
On occasion Crested Caracaras have been known to stray northward with individual birds spotted as far north as Michigan. One bird was even spotted as far away as New Brunswick, Canada.
This medium sized raptor is a carnivorous scavenger that mainly feeds on carrion. Prey includes small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, turtles, crabs, eggs and nesting birds. The Crested Caracara is easily recognizable by its distinctive plumage. They are often seen in the presence of other carrion eating birds.
The Crested Caracara is most commonly seen south of the Mexico/United States border. In some areas it is locally referred to as the ‘Mexican Buzzard’.
The captive bird illustrated in this article was positioned adjacent to some steps leading into the main buffet restaurant, drawing a lot of interest from the diners. I only had a few narrow shooting angles that allowed me to compose my images without distracting backgrounds in them.
All photographs in this article were captured hand-held using camera gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.
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