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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.

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

Plain Chachalaca is common throughout its range where suitable habitat persists. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 2 million, with 2% living in the U.S., and 72% in Mexico. The species rates an 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. It is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.

Credits

Range Map Help

Plain Chachalaca Range Map
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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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