Chimango caracara

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Chimango caracara
Milvago chimango -Rio Grande, Rio Gande do Sul, Brazil-8.jpg
Nominate in Rio Gande do Sul, Brazil
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Genus: Phalcoboenus
Species: P. chimango
Binomial name
Phalcoboenus chimango
(Vieillot, 1816)

The chimango caracara (Phalcoboenus chimango) is a species of bird of prey in the family Falconidae. It is found in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay and south of Brazil. The chimango is found as far south as Tierra del Fuego and is a vagrant to the Falkland Islands.


Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, high-altitude shrubland, temperate grassland, Patagonian steppe, and heavily degraded former forest. This bird is typically found at edges of water and near towns and fields, the latter especially if they are newly ploughed. It is the most common raptor in the Argentinean Patagonia.[2]

Species description[edit]

Length: 37 to 40 cm. A typical chimango has a mantle and back edged with cinnamon brown feathers and white. Neck, chest, abdomen and belly light brown. Head dark brown. It is the smallest variety of caracara. Wings have a dark brown stripe with white in the basal half of the primaries. The tail is light brown with a dark brown terminal band. Eyes are brown. Legs are light gray in the male and yellowish in the female.

Phalcoboenus chimango (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Milvago.[3]


The chimango is an intelligent bird and has high problem solving abilities compared to other birds.[4] It eats insects, small vertebrates and carrion.[5] The chimango is also known to catch living fish from the surface of the water.[6]



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Milvago chimango". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Donázar, J. A., O. Ceballos, A. Travaini & F. Hiraldo. 1993. Roadside raptor surveys in the Argentinean Patagonia. Journal of Raptor Research, 27:106-110.
  3. ^ "Chimango Caracara (Phalcoboenus chimango)". BirdLife International. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  4. ^ Biondi, L.M., Bó, M.S. & Vassallo, A.I. (2010) Inter-individual and age differences in exploration, neophobia and problem-solving ability in a Neotropical raptor (Milvago chimango). Animal Cognition, 13:701-710.
  5. ^ Biondi, L.M. M.S. Bó, and M. Favero. 2005. [Diet of the chimango (Milvago chimango) during the reproductive period in southeastern Buenos Aires Province, Argentina]. Ornitologia Neotropical 16:31-32. (In Spanish with English summary)
  6. ^ Sazima, I. & Olmos, F. (2009) The chimango caracara (Milvago chimango), an additional fisher among Caracarini falcons. Biota Neotropica, 9:403-405.

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