Jamaican caracara

The Jamaican caracara Caracara tellustris is a prehistoric species of terrestrial bird in the falcon family, Falconidae. It was native to the island of Jamaica in the Caribbean, where it probably inhabited dry forests in the island's south during the early Holocene. This species was described based on fossils discovered in the Skeleton Cave in the Jackson's Bay Cave system on the south coast of Portland Ridge.[1]

Jamaican caracara
Temporal range: Holocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Genus: Caracara
C. tellustris
Binomial name
Caracara tellustris
Olson, 2008

Caracara tellustris was large and had diminished wings; it was probably mostly terrestrial and may have been flightless. It probably had a lifestyle similar to that of the secretary bird of Africa. It likely became extinct following Paleo-Indian colonization of the island during the Quaternary extinction event, but it may have survived up to European colonization of the island, after which habitat destruction and invasive species wiped it out before it could be described by naturalists.[2]


  1. Olson, Storrs L. (2008). "A New Species of Large, Terrestrial Caracara from Holocene Deposits in Southern Jamaica (Aves: Falconidae)". Journal of Raptor Research. The Raptor Research Foundation. 42 (4): 265–272. doi:10.3356/JRR-08-18.1.
  2. Hume, Julian P. (2017). Extinct Birds. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 95. ISBN 978-1472937445.

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