Original paper

The largest known falconid

Jones, Washington W.; Cenizo, Marcos M.; Agnolin, Federico L.; Rinderknecht, Andrés; Blanco, R. Ernesto


The caracaras represent a characteristic faunal element of the Neotropics. Recently, a very large fossil species Caracara major from late Pleistocene of Uruguay was considered the largest known falconid. In the present contribution we describe a larger specimen belonging to a Caracara form from the late Pleistocene of the Buenos Aires province. The body mass estimation of this specimen clearly exceeds that of living caracaras species and, represents the largest known falconid (lowest body mass estimation nearly of 4500 grams). The diversification and extinction of large–sized caracaras may be correlated with the abundance of very large mammals, which may provide abundant large carcasses as a food resource, in the late Pleistocene-early Holocene.


falconidaepleistocene extinctionscaracarabody mass estimationfossil birds