Falcons and Caracaras (Falconidae)

Crested Caracara (Polyborus plancus) - HBW 2, p. 250

French: Caracara huppé German: Schopfkarakara Spanish: Caracara Carancho
Other common names: Common Caracara; Guadalupe Caracara (lutosus)

Taxonomy: Falco plancus J. F. Miller, 1777, Tierra del Fuego.
Recent proposal to replace traditional genus name Polyborus with Caracara on grounds of indeterminate type description, but Polyborus should be retained (see page 219). Closely related to Phalcoboenus, and less closely to Milvago, both of which genera sometimes included within Polyborus. Extinct form lutosus of Guadalupe I (off W Mexico) frequently treated as full species, but now generally considered a race of P. plancus. Race audubonii of doubtful validity, and often merged with cheriway; race ammophilus described.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Falco plancus J. F. Miller, 1777, Tierra del Fuego.
Recent proposal to replace traditional genus name Polyborus with Caracara on grounds of indeterminate type description, but Polyborus should be retained (see page 219). Closely related to Phalcoboenus, and less closely to Milvago, both of which genera sometimes included within Polyborus. Extinct form lutosus of Guadalupe I (off W Mexico) frequently treated as full species, but now generally considered a race of P. plancus. Race audubonii of doubtful validity, and often merged with cheriway; race ammophilus described from W Mexico, but even more dubious, and normally included within audubonii. Four extant subspecies usually recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • pallidus Nelson, 1898 - Tres Marías Is, off W Mexico.
  • audubonii Cassin, 1865 - S USA (Florida; Texas to Arizona) through Central America to W Panama; Cuba, I of Pines.
  • cheriway (Jacquin, 1784) - E Panama through C & E Colombia to the Guianas and S to N Peru and R Amazon; Aruba (Netherlands Antilles) E to Trinidad.
  • plancus (J. F. Miller, 1777) - C Peru and C Bolivia E to Amazon Delta and S to Tierra del Fuego; Falkland Is.