Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Raptors in cages in photos etc Pt II

I'm continuing the post that I started yesterday with three photographs of three different Crested Caracaras. The Crested Caracara is a very popular bird with wildlife parks and is frequently to be encountered at raptor displays at county fairs and the like. Why it is so popular I can only guess. Perhaps it is easy to rear and has a good track record of breeding success. It may be able to tolerate confinement better than other species or it may respond better to human handling. Either way there is a good chance that you will encounter one of these birds if you visit a wildlife park in the UK. In the wild you would need to travel to central and southern America to see one in the wild. Up until 2002 it was thought that there was just the single species of Crested Caracara but during 2002 it was split into two. The Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway and the Southern Crested Caracara Caracara plancus. I have seen both of these species: the Northern in Costa Rica and the Southern in Peru and I couldn't tell the difference. The Southern is larger but as you don't see them together you will not be able to tell! I only know they were different because of geography - their ranges do not overlap.
The three birds that I have photographed in enclosures in Britain I take to be Northern Crested Caracaras as these can be found in the south-west of the USA and I think British captive birds would originate from there The northern birds are darker too and all three of these individuals are quite dark. James Ferguson-Lees says in 'Raptors of the World' that these birds 'Walk and run easily, cruising roads for crushed corpses, joining and often dominating vultures at carcases where they may pick out the maggots.' A really nice image... I can see why they are favourites of bird-keepers!

No 2 Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway

Presumed Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway Woodland Wildlife Park, Lincs October 2014

Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway  IBPC Yorks, Sept 2014
 Note that the face is yellow on this individual and not red as in the other two. The face colour can range from pale yellow to a deep orange-red.
Northern Crested Craacara Caracara cheriway. Thorsby Hall County Fair, Notts, March 2013

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