Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)

Least Concern

Chimango Caracara (Phalcoboenus chimango)


French: Caracara chimango German: Chimangokarakara Spanish: Caracara chimango
Other common names: Chimango

Polyborus chimango


, 1816,

Paraguay and Río de la Plata


Previously placed in genus Milvago with M. chimachima, or the two were occasionally even transferred to Caracara; however, recent molecular study indicates that present species and M. chimachima are not close relatives, or even congeners#R. Birds of Tierra del Fuego sometimes awarded separate race, fuegiensis; possible race azarae (Paraguay) normally included within nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. chimango (Vieillot, 1816) – N & C Chile and N & C Argentina through Paraguay to Uruguay and adjacent Brazil (SE São Paulo).
  • P. c. temucoensis (W. L. Sclater, 1918) – S Chile (from near Concepción) and S Argentina (from R Chubut) S to Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn; in winter to C Paraguay and adjacent Brazil.
  • Introduced to Easter I (S Pacific).

    Descriptive notes

    32–43 cm; male 289 g, female 300 g, unsexed 170–260 g; wingspan 80–99 cm. All-brownish small caracara, with dark streaks on sides of head and hindneck;... read more


    Loud squealing “keeeeee-eh” usually uttered singly, but which may become even more... read more


    All kinds of open country; found equally in grassy foothills of Andes, heathland, shrub steppe,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on carrion (dead fish, small-sized roadkills, dead lambs, but also larger carcasses after other predators have left) and also live... read more


    In Argentina, lays Sept–Dec (austral spring), with peak in Oct, and most clutches initiated in same month in S Chile; fledged young... read more


    S populations appear at least partially migratory, moving N at least as far as Tucumán, in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Currently thriving, perhaps benfitting in part from deforestation, and is commonest raptor through much of Chile and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Chimango Caracara (Phalcoboenus chimango). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 9 April 2020).