This post is also available in: Dutch.
For me, one of the most intriguing aspects of wildlife observation is behavior. Especially two types of behavior are really amazing to watch: reproductive behavior (with as highlights the various ways to conquer a partner), and parental care. These shots were captured in the Christoffelpark, during our short visit yesterday, and portray an adult Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway) – local name Warawara – and a youngster. The adults are almost black in appearance, apart from the white wingtips and the banding on breast and tail, but the immature birds are a lot more brownish. In the first picture, the kiddo is begging for food, which was accompanied by sad sounding screams.
Immature Caracara’s stay with the parents for quite some time, up to 2 or 3 months, before they are independent. Even then, they might stay within the home range of the adults.
This species is known to feed on carrion, and is responsible for the cleanup of road kill, but will hunt for small prey like lizards or the Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) if the need arises.Within shrubby sections of the ‘mondi’ the birds prefer to walk instead of fly, with a stately ‘chicken-like’ movement. In the past this species was persecuted severely, because of folk conviction that these birds were responsible for killing newborn goats. Nowadays the species seems to do fine.