from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several large, carrion-eating or predatory hawks of the subfamily Caracarinae, native to South and Central America and the southern United States.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several South American and Central American birds of prey in the family Falconidae.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A south American bird of several species and genera, resembling both the eagles and the vultures. The caracaras act as scavengers, and are also called carrion buzzards.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The popular name of the hawks of the subfamily Polyborinæ and genera Polyborus, Phalcobænus, Senex, Milvago, Ibycter, and Daptrius, all of which are confined to America.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of various long-legged carrion-eating hawks of South America and Central America


Spanish and Portuguese caracará, both from Tupi caracara.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Spanish or Portuguese, from Tupian, probably imitative. (Wiktionary)



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  • "Hawks and larks dart past tamaracks, as jackdaws and mallards flap past catalpas and land athwart a larch (sparhawks and caracaras scrawk at blackcaps and avadavats)."
    Eunoia by Christian Bök (upgraded edition), p 27

    May 20, 2010

  • "'I have seen a little flock of white-winged finches and a bird I took to be a mountain caracara.'"
    --P. O'Brian, The Wine-Dark Sea, 210

    March 16, 2008