Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)

Least Concern

Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus)


French: Caracara montagnard German: Bergkarakara Spanish: Caracara andino

Aquila megaloptera


, 1834,

Cordillera of Chile


Formerly considered to include P. carunculatus and P. albogularis as races; the three form a species-group, in which some authors also include P. australis. Very low genetic divergence exists among these four species, the lowest being between present species and P. albogularis#R. Possible hybrids with latter reported from Argentina. Monotypic.


Andes from S Ecuador#R, through Peru and Bolivia to NW Argentina and C Chile (Colchagua).

Descriptive notes

48–55 cm; male c. 795 g; wingspan 111–124 cm. Large caracara, with relatively slim body, longish legs, round-tipped tail and comparatively weak bill. Glossy black... read more


Considered to be usually silent, but occasionally gives series of rasping barked "kjah"... read more


Treeless areas of upper temperate zone, typically in puna; generally at 2000–5000 m... read more

Food and feeding

Large arthropods, young rodents or birds; also carrion and rubbish. Often gathers in numbers (even hundreds of individuals) near towns, to... read more


Eggs in Oct–Nov in S of range, with season probably continuing until Mar–Apr. High-circling and mutual soaring are only aerial... read more


Sedentary, albeit with some evidence of altitudinal wandering in non-breeding season.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. A common bird in suitable habitat; of no conservation concern. Abundant in N Altiplano of Peru and Bolivia.

Recommended citation

Bierregaard, R.O., Jr & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus). 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 16 February 2020).