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The Plain Chachalaca is a chicken-like bird named after its loud, raucous calls.

Appearance

Plain Chachalacas are large, often arboreal chicken-like birds with a small head, long, strong legs, and long tail tipped in white. They have brownish gray upperparts with a buffy belly. When displaying, a patch of bare red skin under the throat is visible. Immatures are similar to adults. Adults weigh 10.6-24.2 ounces (300-685 grams).

Occurrence

Plain Chachalacas can be found along the east coast of Mexico, Central America, and small patches in the U.S. They are residents year-round. They can be found in thickets, dense second growth, scrub and forest, primarily in semi-arid regions.

Life History

Diet

Plain Chachalacas eat fruit.

Nesting

They nest in trees. In each clutch, there are two to four eggs. At hatching, the hatchlings are downy and able to follow mother.

Behavior

Plain Chachalacas are foliage gleaners.

Sounds

They call a very loud, raucous, repeated "chac, a lak."

Conservation

Plain Chachalaca is common throughout its range where suitable habitat persists.

Gallery

Trivia

  • The Plain Chachalaca is the only member of the family of guans, currasows, and chachalacas to reach the United States.
  • 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.
  • They are also called Chachalaca Norteña (in Spanish) and Ortalide chacamel (in French).
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