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The Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway) is a common subject of folklore and legends throughout Central and South America, and is sometimes referred to as the Mexican eagle. A large, ground-dwelling bird in the Falconidae family, it is a strikingly patterned, broad-winged opportunist that often feeds on carrion. Aggressive, it may chase vultures away from road kills. Although it looks like a long-legged hawk and associates with vultures, it is actually in the same family as falcons. Caracaras are principally birds of South and Central America, just reaching the southern United States. Males and females look alike. The northern species can be separated from the similar Southern Caracara by their less extensive and more spotty barring to the chest.
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