Striated Caracara

Phalcoboenus australis

The Striated Caracara or ‘Johnny rook’ is a opportunistic bird of prey which is primarily a scavenger. Unlike other raptors they show a level of tameness and curiosity, they will often examine humans and their belongings this pathological curiosity helps the birds to develop novel ways of finding food, which makes them master problem solvers much like that of corvids.

Distribution and Habitat

The striated caracara is most commonly found on the Falkland isles, however they also can be found to inhabit the isolated coasts and islands off extreme South Argentina and Chile including the south and east coasts of Isla Grande on Tierra del Fuego, Isla de los Estados, Navarino, Cape Horn. The Striated Caracaras occupy such habitats as open lowland areas, rocky coastlines but may also inhabit higher elevations such as low coastal mountains.

Diet​

The striated caracara is a opportunistic bird of prey which is primarily a scavenger, this means a large part of their diet consists of carrion, offal and food scraps and will occasionally take insects and earthworms dug from the ground with its talons. However they have been known to work in packs of up to 50 to take young and/or weak animals such as lambs or penguin chicks. 

Threats

The striated caracara are currently classed as ‘near threated’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is in part due to the persecution they face from farmers of livestock on the islands they inhabit, in 1909 FIG (Falkland Island Government) placed a bounty of two pence per Straited Caracara bill, this did cease in 1930 however the killing of the Straited Caracara continued for another 50 years. Global warming has also played a part in the reduction of breeding pairs, with the striated caracaras struggling to cope with weather conditions becoming increasing severe.