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Scientific Name:

Caracara lutosus

Population Status:


Body Length:






What makes a raptor a raptor?

Research Resources

Did you know?

  • Humans deliberately (which means on purpose) killed - by shooting or poisoning - all of the Guadalupe Caracaras.
  • In 1897 it was reported that a fisherman trapped several Guadalupe Caracaras and brought them to the U.S.A. alive. Apparently, he was trying to sell them but no one could afford the high prices he was demanding. All of these individuals died with a short time.
  • Though the literature suggests that at one point people had collected eggs from Guadalupe Caracara nests, no documentation exists which sheds light on the type of nest it used, the number of eggs it laid, or any other information regarding breeding behavior.

Though The Peregrine Fund was established almost 70 years too late to help the Guadalupe Caracara, our efforts in scientific research, habitat conservation, education, and community development help conserve the remaining birds of prey around the world. We have man programs that work directly with critically endangered raptors such as the California Condor and the Ridgway's Hawks. We also supply literature to researchers from our avian research library, which helps scientists around the world gather and share important information on raptor conservation.

The Guadalupe Caracara was formerly endemic to Guadalupe Island, off the western coast of Mexico. From the very little that was learned about this species before it disappeared forever, we know only that it preferred lowland habitats.

Not much is known about the Guadalupe Caracara's behavior. Scientists believe it was a non-migratory species that preferred open habitats. Scientific collectors reported seeing several individuals (up to eleven) together at one time. They also stated that the birds appeared unafraid of humans.

Sadly, it is too late for the Guadalupe Caracara. But, hope exists that we can learn from this sad history, and can work to prevent it from happening to other species. This raptor was intentionally erradicated from its home because goat herders believed that it preyed on young goats. However, scientists believe that the stories of this predation were greatly overstated. In fact, it is likely that often, the Guadalupe Caracara fed on young goats that had already died of other causes. Ironically, these same goats - which over time grew in numbers and became feral - were responsible for the destruction of much of the island's habitat and the extinction of several other endemic species.

Because they are raptors, we know that Guadalupe Caracaras were carnivores. If we look at the diet of other caracaras that are still around, we can guess that they likely fed on small mammals, reptiles and amphibians and that they were also carrion feeders - meaning they fed on animals that they found already dead.

Did the Guadalupe Caracara build its own nest, like the Crested Caracara does? Did it nest in trees like the Yellow-headed Caracara? How many eggs did it lay and what colore were they? Did both parents help incubate the eggs? What did the nestlings look like when they hatched? How long did they remain in the nest before fledging? Did their parents take good care of them? There are so many questions - and we will now never get the answers.

The World Center for Birds of Prey offers fun ways to learn about birds of prey. Interactive activities, tours, interesting videos and a children's room with activities from coloring sheets to quizzes to costumes are all available to our visitors. We also have several "avian ambassadors" that you can see up close.

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