Plain Chachalaca
Ortalis vetula


  • Scientific name:

    Ortalis vetula

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  • Genus:


  • Species:


  • Common names:

    Plain chachalaca


  • Morphology:

    The plain chachalaca is long-necked with a small head and bare throat patch which becomes deep red during the breeding season. They have a greyish head and neck with a dull olive-brown body and wings. The underbelly is pale and the tail is blackish with green gloss and buffy-white tip. They measure 48 to 58 cm with the males larger than the females.

  • Reproduction:

    Chachalaca nests are rough platforms of sticks and leaves in vegetation of the ground. They may breed in their first year laying 2 to 3 white eggs. The chicks develop feathers rapidly and can fly in just a few days.

  • Diet:

    Mostly fruits with some leaves, flowers and seeds. Normally feed in the trees but at times on the ground.


  • Range:

    From south Texas and northeast Mexico to north central Nicaragua and an isolated population in Costa Rica.

  • Habitat:

    Brushy woodland or second growth in both dry and moist tropical forest. They are often seen crossing rivers or open clearings with necks extended and tails spread. They can occur from sea level to 1,800 m altitude.


  • Hunting for food.
    IUCN Red List: Least concern.