Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Family Cracidae

Plain Chachalaca - notice no rufous in its primaries
Because a good friend of mine is traveling shortly to Costa Rica to go birding I am dedicating this blog to him. Cracidae are a family of large, chicken like birds that occur in tropical and subtropical Central and South America. The Plain Chachalaca is present in the United States, in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. There are 50 different species in Cracidae and I have seen four of the species and photographed three of the species. Usually, you see these birds foraging on the ground for fruit and other food items. However, these birds are a boreal in nature and spent much of their time feeding nesting in roosting in trees. My first encounter with the Plain Chachalaca was on a photo shoot in Texas, where we were doing setups to photograph passerine's and flocks of the Chachalaca's would come in, land on the perches, and because area size and weight knocked down the perches and disrupting our photography. However, in their own right, they are interesting birds to photograph. One of the Cracidae a that I did see, but was unable to photograph because everything was packed the way, as we were getting ready to leave the Lodge for our trip to the next location was a Great Curassow. In Costa Rica, I was able to photograph the Gray-headed Chachalaca and the Black Guan.
Black Guan

Close-up of a Black Guan's head

Black Guan standing in the pouring rain

Gray-headed Chachalaca

Gray-headed Chachalaca - notice the rufous in its primaries

Plain Chachalaca