During his visit to the Falklands, Charles Darwin was struck by the tameness, inquisitive behaviour and opportunistic feeding habits of the striated caracara (6). Indeed, individuals of this species, particularly juveniles, show little fear of humans and can be easily caught with a hand net. The striated caracara’s curiosity is more than a just behavioural quirk, however, and probably helps it to develop novel ways of finding food. For example, this species will dig prions (small seabirds) from out of the burrows where they reside during the day, and will also hunt them on the wing at night. In addition to small seabirds, the striated caracara also feeds upon the eggs and chicks of larger seabirds such as penguins and albatrosses, and on the carcasses of furseals and penguins (4). Where livestock farming occurs, this species has been brought into conflict with humans as it will attack weak or stranded sheep (5) (7).
The striated caracara’s breeding season occurs during the austral summer, from December to late February (4), with the female laying a clutch of up to four eggs in a nest constructed from twigs and vegetation, lined with grass and wool (7). After fledging the young birds congregate in large flocks (4).