Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway)
Photo: © 2005 Jeffrey Berger
A member of the falcon family, the crested caracara is a dapper raptor who gets my vote for the best-dressed bird north of Lake Okeechobee. He has a ruddy orange complexion and sports a white tie and tails, a sash of brown Glengarry plaid, and a black toupé. I was fortunate to capture Uncle Quigley in chiaroscuro.
A versatile feeder, the caracara will hunt for prey like a raptor or dine on carrion like a vulture.
The caracara is listed as "threatened" in the State of Florida. The current population is estimated to be less than 400 birds. Since their natural range is comprised of pasteurs and prairies, their future fate is solely in the hands of ranchers and private land-owners.