The Red-throated Caracara in Costa Rica

Costa Rica bird

This raptor, related to the falcons, is found from southern Mexico to southern Brazil and is usually found in forested habitats. It has a very interesting diet, feeding heavily on the larvae of wasps which it obtains by attacking the nests until the wasps abandon it. In the grand scheme of things though, very little is known about this unique raptor’s natural history. Although the Red-throated Caracara (Ibycter americanus) has a rather larger range, its population in Central America has plummeted over the last decades, making it very hard to find at present.

The decline is hard to account for since it has disappeared even from areas where the forest has remained intact. In Costa Rica there are recent sightings from the Osa Peninsula in the far south and in the northern region and it is precisely here where our project began in 2013, monitoring a group of Red-throated Caracaras living in the remnant forest patches of a cattle farm near Monterrey, San Carlos. During two seasons (2013, 2018) we were able to identify the nest site – the first ever recorded in Costa Rica – and we were able to connect invaluable data about their behavior and social cooperation using cameras to record photographs, video and audio. We were also able to document the fledglings from both nests.

During several visits in May 2020, the birds were spotted again visiting the nest site and coming in and out of the actual nest, but after two weeks of observations they stopped visiting the site. Our goal through Ibycter Project is to continue generating data on all aspects of this species’ natural history throughout the year to better understand its needs and why it is disappearing. This information is critical to allow us to put in place effective conservation actions.

Caracara Costa Rica is supporting the project with a donation for every purchase that we have. But there’s still much to do and much to learn about this amazing birds, it is for this reason we are seeking cooperation through donations to support our ongoing field work in Costa Rica. We have put together an amazing team of capable and hard-working volunteers, but we need your help to move on to the next phase of our project.

Diego Quesada

Professional Tourist Guide

He has been a certified naturalist and birdwatching guide since 2002, with experience guiding tourists of all ages and nationalities throughout Costa Rica. He has recently expanded his tours to other Latin American countries and to the United States. Diego is passionate about bird photography and communing with nature. In his spare time he also enjoys music and playing guitar. Diego is actively involved in organizing annual bird counts and working on conservation and research projects concerning Costa Rican birdlife.

William Vega


William Vega is a professional in law, specialized in human rights. He is also a naturalist and wildlife buff.

Andrew Guttenberg


He is a wildlife illustrator, and has been focusing specifically on birds for the last 17 years. He works mostly with gouache and colored pencil from his home in Montana, USA, where the mountains, prairie, and vibrant bird life inspire his work. Andrew has a passion for the natural and cultural treasures of Latin America, and has spent significant time exploring and observing Costa Rica and Brazil in recent years.

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