Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Crested Caracara roost

This evening, while walking Oliver's dog Old Jack on the Zamorano University campus, Roselvy and I saw little groups of mostly two to four Crested Caracaras fly to what evidently is a roost here in the Yeguare Valley, in central Honduras. We ended up with a count of 21 caracaras, but we were not close to the roost site itself, and thus our count is likely not complete. We noted in which direction the birds were flying, and tried to follow them in binoculars for as far as we could, but distance and darkness made it impossible to see where exactly the birds landed. (These photos were taken here on campus yesterday.)

Although we tend to think of raptors as 'loners', communal roosting is known from various species, including Crested Caracara. A 1996 article in the Journal of Field Ornithology, for example, describes a roost in southern Guatemala where a maximum of 178 Crested Caracaras were observed roosting in a single large ceiba tree (Johnson & Gilardi 1996).

I don't know if the Yeguare Valley holds quite that many caracaras, but it would be worthwhile to try and locate this roost for a more complete count.

Cited literature:
Johnson, Matthew D. & James D. Gilardi. 1996. Communal roosting of the Crested Caracara in southern Guatemala. Journal of Field Ornithology 67(1): 44-47.

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