This bird of prey has a length between 49 to 58 cm and a wingspan of 120 cm. They weigh between 1,050 and 1,300 g. Caracaras can be identified by their long yellow legs, and their large, hooked, bluish bill. Caracaras have black crowns while the rest of the head is white, with red facial skin. Their tails are banded, alternating black and white, with a wide black terminal band. The ends of the primaries and at the base of the neck are also banded.
Bonds between adult caracaras are strong, persisting until one of the mates dies. Their nest is an open and voluminous structure made of sticks, straw and reed stems, usually located on top of a palm tree or tree with small leaves. They lay 2 or 3 white eggs. They breed from December to March.
They are not fast air hunters, their flight is rather slow. They have a very broad diet that includes carrion. Hunting small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, crabs, insects and earthworms.
From the south of the USA to the northeast of Brazil.
They prefer the open areas, savannas, pastures, cultivation areas and beaches.
IUCN Red List: Least concern.