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Johnny Rook or Striated Caracara

Johnny Rook or Striated Caracara
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2001-12-25
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1vHS, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite Bird of Prey photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-06-22 4:33
Viewed: 8710
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This is a scanned slide taken on New Island in the Falkland Islands. The Striated Caracara is, I believe, a birdwatchers 'must-see'.

The Striated Caracara, (Phalcoboenus australis) is a bird of prey of the Falconidae family. In the Falkland Islands it is known as Johnny Rook.

The adults plumage is almost black in colour, while the legs and lores are orange and the neck is flecked with grey. The first year juveniles have an orange or light red down, which they lose after their first moult. Full adult plumage is acquired only in the fifth year.

It breeds in several islands in the Tierra del fuego, but is more abundant in the Falklands where the population is estimated at 500 breeding pairs.

The Striated Caracara is primarily a scavenger, feeding on carrion, offal and small invertebrates that it digs up with its claws. However it will also prey on weak or injured creatures, such as young seabirds. Its habit of attacking newborn lambs and weakened sheep has led it to be ruthlessly persecuted by sheep farmers.

Often it is known to steal red objects such as clothing or handkerchiefs, possibly because red is the colour of meat. As it does not tend to steal other non red objects this proves that the Striated Caracara can see in colour, or at least is able to distinguish red from other colours. It is possible it has only dull colour vision, like that of a dog. Often it will also raid dustbins and move rocks to get food from underneath, thus proving themselves to be one of the most intelligent of the birds of prey.

Though it was once considered common in the Falklands archipelago, it now only nests in the outlying islands where it breeds around penguin and albatross colonies.

The nest is built on the ground or on a cliff ledge, where the female will lay up to 4 eggs. Their hatching is timed to coincide with the nesting season of seabirds, providing a constant food supply for the chicks. Once these have fledged, they gather into flocks and roam through the islands, often close to human settlements.

Juveniles and indeed, adults, are almost entirely fearless of humans and treat their approach with indifference. Over time, conflict with the sheep farmers has led to a great reduction in their numbers. This is now being corrected by the Falkland Islanders.

ramthakur, maurydv, pekkavalo1, bahadir, Argus, uleko, jaycee, vanderschelden, nglen, NinaM, Royaldevon, boreocypriensis, SelenE, rcrick, Adanac, JPlumb has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To nglen: Hundreds of PicturesJamesp 2 06-22 12:15
To Argus: JuvenileJamesp 1 06-22 08:31
To uleko: FalklandsJamesp 1 06-22 08:03
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Critiques [Translate]

Very impressive scan from a slide, James.
The bird is elegant, to say the least.
Wonderful image from your archive of slides.
TFS and regards.

Hi James,

Excellent picture for a scanned slide. Good pose and composition, pin- sharp details and natural colours.



Bellissimo ritratto di questo rapace, ottimi POV e composizione con la postura eretta e lo sguardo "acuto", molto buona la nitidezza, molto belli i colori ed il contrasto creato dal BG chiaro. Grazie e complimenti. Ciao Maurizio

Sperb capture James. TFS. Greetings,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-06-22 7:17]
  • [+]

Hello James,
A superb nicely scanned portrait of a juvenile Striped Caracara. You must have been able to get close to get such fine sharp frame-filling shot.
TFS this rarity, one I have never seen in real life and for the great note,

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-06-22 7:23]
  • [+]

Hello James,
To me the Falklands always makes me think of the war and Margaret Thatcher, but no doubt nature and wildlife there must be wonderful! This is a splendid capture of the Caracara standing high on the rock with the sun bringing out the wonderful colours of its plumage. Great sharpness and a fine composition!
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla

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  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-06-22 7:51]

Hello James,
I've seen a film about the behaviour of this Caracara's. I was very impressed. They undermined everything what was in their neighbourhood.
A fantastic scanned slide in beautiful light, colours and sharpness. Great pose and composition.

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  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-06-22 9:18]

Hi James,

I guess I should add the Falklands to my list! What a fascinating looking bird this is - and he seems fascinated by you. He is looking right into the camera. A wonderful pose and beautiful plummage.


Hello James,
Once gain very interesting work. A well composed photo and a matching note.

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  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-06-22 11:11]
  • [+]

Hi James. Once again i must thank you for bring a bird i have not seen or even heard of with very interesting notes. Sounds like a very inteligent bird to me. Looks a bit of a scruff from you picture but your shot shows lots of detail and natural colours in the fetahers. large feet it has for carrying off it food. well done tFS.
Nick.. I see this one dates back to 2001 you must have hundreds of pictures.

  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-06-22 12:02]

This bird looks like the kind of bum women love... A very nice picture, James, look at those claws, ouch! When it grabs a prey it doesn't let it go, I'm sure. Quite impressive and great notes as usual, thank you!


What interesting notes, James.
I have never heard of this bird before but can appreciate why the locals call it Johnny Rook.
You have shown us some excellent details of its features and feathers with a fine composition.

Kind regards,
Bev :-)

Hi James, my dear friend,

A perfect shot of this Striated Caracara with excellent POF and DOF. Great composition my friend.
Many thanks sharing this beauty.


Hi James, very primitive raptor, I like caracaras very much. This is a rare specie to be seen on trek,the ones have seen were in Brazil, so I am very happy to see this, excellent all round composition. regards h

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  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-06-22 14:25]

Hi James,
It's an elegant raptor, and you captured it very well. TFS
Best wishes,

Hi James,

Very impressive looking bird, the colours and detail are excellent, really well framed and composed, all the best,

Cheers Rick :)


This is quite a shot. I've never seen this bird before but it definitely looks fascinating. I'd say it reminds me of a cross between a Raven and a Golden eagle - obviously this only exists in my imagination :) You've captured this one very nicely, the picture shows the details very well. Your note is very interesting as well. It is sad how humans can affect wildlife to suit their needs. We do it way too often without thinking of the consequences....

Best Regards,


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  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-06-22 19:38]

Hello James,
What a great treat to come back and look at all your fabulous postings while I was away, I must find time to comment on a few over the next few days. This is a splendidly detailed image of this great bird, and the notes as always very informative, thank you James.

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  • JPlumb Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
  • [2008-06-22 23:26]

Hello James, this is a well captured shot of this Striated Carara, under what seem to be very difficult conditions with the dark body against that light well lit background. The exposure on the bird turned out great, as did your PP work to convert it.

Thanks, John

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  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-06-23 3:39]

Hello James, Nice composition and good view. Great picture supported with good notes. Well done TFS Ganesh

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  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-06-23 14:58]

Very sharp image of this Striated Caracara!
You must have been pretty close to it!
I like the glossy feathers which you have exposed perfectly.
Very well composed too.
Great POV.

Well done!


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  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-06-23 21:03]

Hello James

Wonderful plumage detail.
The colours are natural.
Well focused .
The low pov is very good.


hello James

excellet shot of this Caracara, with fine POV, superb luminosity
of the image, excellent sharpness and details, great eye-contact
of the subject with you and beautiful catch-light at his eye, TFS


nice to see this one, TFS Ori

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