Crested Caracara at swimming pool-2.jpg
The northern crested caracara is closely related to the Peregrine falcon but unlike many other falcons, caracara are not fast-flying aerial predators. Their long legs make them better adapted to walking and running on the ground where they hunt and scavenge anything from seeds and beetles to small birds and rodents. They're a common sight amongst the wetlands and open grasslands of Brazil. I was staying at a research station in Matagrossense National Park in the northern part of the Pantanal. While sitting on the porch I noticed clouds of dust puffing into the air from just over a hummock. I went to investigate and discovered this Caracara dust bathing. Fluffing its feathers and rubbing in the dust - a strategy to help remove parasites from its feathers. Its feathers were so ruffled that it resembled a feather dusty, very different from the sleek raptor that I had seen many times before.