Plain Chachalaca Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A large chickenlike bird with a fairly long neck, a small head, and a short bill. It has a long, rounded tail, and long legs.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Northern Bobwhite, smaller than a Ring-necked Pheasant.

    Relative Sizecrow sizedcrow-sized
    Measurements
    • Both Sexes
      • Weight: 10.6-24.2 oz (300-685 g)

Regional Differences

Ornithologists recognize four subspecies, of which just one (mccalli) occurs in the United States. The other three, vetula, pallidiventris, and deschauenseei, are distributed from Mexico south to Honduras. These four subspecies differ only slightly in plumage tones. The southernmost subspecies (deschauenseei) of Honduras is probably extinct.