Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)

Least Concern

Red-throated Caracara (Ibycter americanus)


French: Caracara à gorge rouge German: Rotkehlkarakara Spanish: Caracara gorjirrojo

Falco americanus


, 1783,



Populations from Central America and SE Brazil formerly recognized subspecifically as, respectively, guatemalensis and pelzelni, on basis primarily of size, but substantial overlap with intervening populations. Monotypic.


E Honduras#R S to Colombia, S on Pacific slope to W Ecuador, and E of Andes to C Peru, N & E Bolivia and S Brazil (NW Paraná, Mato Grosso and São Paulo). Formerly also in E Mexico, Guatemala and W Honduras.

Descriptive notes

43–61 cm; male 510–570 g, female 560–770 g; wingspan 96–124 cm. Large, forest caracara, with longish wings (reaching halfway down tail at rest), long... read more


Loud, raucous cacophony, likened to a hoarse trumpeting, an almost Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao... read more


Primary rainforest, including seasonally flooded areas (where probably usually less common than in... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly eggs and larvae of wasp (e.g. Pseudopolybia) and bee nests, amounting to 74% of prey items recorded in a forest in French... read more


In Colombia, birds in breeding condition in Jul; in Panama, one about to lay in Mar. Stick nest with nestlings in Feb–Mar in French... read more


Sedentary. Three groups in French Guiana defended year-round territories of 396–510 ha.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Populations of Panama, and perhaps much of Central America, have declined dramatically since 1950s and 1960s, in part due... read more

Recommended citation

Bierregaard, R.O., Jr & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Red-throated Caracara (Ibycter americanus). 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 25 February 2020).