Crested caracara

Crested caracara

In the 16th century, Spanish Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún created an extensive ethnographic record of pre-Columbian Central America called the Florentine Codex. Within this remarkable work of research is a book devoted to Aztec spiritual practices. It is here that one might stumble across an illustration of the crested caracara, as this distinctive bird of prey was considered sacred in Aztec civilization. Perhaps it was coveted on account of its bravery, as this small but fearless member of the falcon family is known to physically challenge birds twice its size. You might spot one flying low over the ground or walking around an open field on its long legs, hunting for prey.

FUN FACT: The crested caracara is the only falcon that builds its nest from found materials rather than using second-hand nests left over from other bird species. 

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