|any of various large carrion-eating diurnal birds of prey of the genera Caracara, Polyborus, etc, of S North, Central, and South America, having long legs and naked faces: family Falconidae (falcons)|
|[C19: from Spanish or Portuguese, from Tupi; of imitative origin]|
any of about 10 species of birds of prey of the New World subfamily Polyborinae (or Daptriinae) of the family Falconidae. Caracaras feed largely on carrion, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. They are gregarious and aggressive. In spite of their smaller size, they dominate vultures when feeding. Caracaras are recognized by their long legs and by the reddish naked skin of the cheeks and throat. They range in size from 40 to 60 cm (16 to 24 inches) long.
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