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Plain Chachalaca

Ortalis vetula ORDER: GALLIFORMES FAMILY: CRACIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A large chicken-like bird of Mexico and Central America, the Plain Chachalaca reaches the United States only in southern Texas. Its name comes from its loud, raucous calls.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
21.7 in
55 cm
Weight
10.6–24.2 oz
300–685 g
Other Names
  • Chachalaca
  • Ortalide chacamel (French)
  • Chachalaca común, Chachalaca olivácea, Chaca común, Chachalaca vetula (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Plain Chachalaca is the only member of the family of guans, currasows, and chachalacas to reach the United States. The family contains approximately 50 species, ranging from Mexico to southern South America, many of which are endangered by over-hunting.
  • Unlike most other chicken relatives in North America, the Plain Chachalaca is largely arboreal, spending most of its time foraging in trees. It is commonly observed feeding in precarious positions, including upside down.

Habitat


Forest

Thickets, dense second growth, scrub and forest, primarily in semi-arid regions.

Food


Fruit

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–4 eggs
Condition at Hatching
Downy and able to follow mother.
Nest Placement

Tree

Behavior


Foliage Gleaner

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Common throughout range where suitable habitat persists.

Credits

  • Peterson, M. J. 2000. Plain Chachalaca (Ortalis vetula). In The Birds of North America, No. 550 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Plain Chachalaca Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings