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Consumo de frutos de Bactris gasipaes por Caracara plancus en el municipio de Brasileia, suroeste de la Amazonia, Brasil.

Bactris gasipaes fruits consumption by Caracara plancus in the Municipality of Brasileia, southwestern Amazon, Brazil

The Southern Caracara (Caracara plancus (J. F. Miller, 1777)) occurs in South America from northern Peru until Argentina (Bierregaard & Marks 2018). It is a common species in the Northeast and Central and Southern regions of Brazil. Although occupying open areas in all Brazilian biomes the Southern Caracara is less common in the Amazon where its congener species; the Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway); occurs (Sick 1997, Hoyo et al. 2018). However; it has been gradually expanding its geographical distribution in Brazil; toward the north; occupying deforested areas in the Amazon along the major rivers and roads in the region (Guilherme & Czaban 2015). Regarding the diet; the Southern Caracara is an opportunistic/generalist species (Sazima 2007, Bierregaard & Marks 2018). It feeds on dead animals (carcasses) (Sazima 2007) but can also prey live animals; including invertebrates and vertebrates; such as mollusks; insects; fish; newborn turtles; amphibians; birds and mammals (Rodriguez-Estrella & Rodriguez 1997, Sick 1997, Travaini et al. 2001, Vargas & Bo 2007).

On February 27, 2015 at 06H:28min a.m; a young individual of C. plancus was observed feeding on Bactris gasipaes Kunth fruits in a peach-palm culture located in a side road adjacent to the BR-319; locally known as "Ramal do 13"; in the rural zone of Brasileia city; near the Brazil and Bolivia border (10[degrees]55'20.8"S; 68[degrees]51'18.9"W). The bird; which was in a group of four individuals; flew and perched at the base of a bunch of peach palm (Figure 1A). Then; began pecking and tearing off pieces from the mesocarp of an unripe fruit (Figure 1B). Around 15 minutes this individual fed on the pulp of the fruit until noticing my presence and fly to a distant tree.

Studies have shown that; proportionally; the Southern Caracara feeds more on animals than plants (Rodriguez-Estrella & Rodriguez 1997, Sazima 2007; Travaini et al. 2001, Vargas & Bo 2007). However, reports of the Southern Caracara ingesting fruits are not uncommon (Sick 1997). Hempel (1949) observed this species in peanut (Arachis hypogaea) culture; and after examining the stomach content of an individual; he detected the presence of the seed of this herbaceous plant. Guimaraes and Galetti (2004) reported the Southern Caracara feeding and dispersing fruits of the urucuri-palm (Attalea phalerata) in Pantanal. Besides the plants already reported; a review of the plant species consumed by C. plancus showed fruits of palm Elaeis sp.; coconuts and "beans" (Phaseolus vulgaris) (Guimaraes & Galetti 2004). Therefore; this is the first report of C. plancus using Bactris gasipaes as a food resource.

The peach-palm; known in Portuguese as "pupunha;" is a palm tree typical of the Amazon; domesticated by pre-Columbian indigenous people from Peru and Bolivia (Clement 1987, Lorenzi et al. 2010). Nowadays it is cultivated for commercial purposes in different regions of Brazil. From this tree; one can consume the heart of palm (palmito) and also the fruits (Clement & Santos 2002). The pulp of the fruit is rich in lipids andcarotenoids (Carvalho et al. 2013). By the damage observed in other fruits of the bunch (Figure 1); it is possible to conclude that this individual and probably others of the group had been visiting this peach-palm tree in other opportunities. While feeding on the pulp; the bird damages the fruit making it useless for commercial purpose or human consumption. This means that this invasive and newly arrived species in the region (DeLuca 2012, Guilherme & Czaban 2015, Guilherme 2016); can potentially cause damage to small producers who cultivate the peach-palm for subsistence; food production or to sell the fruits in natura at fairs and trades of the surrounding cities.


Literature cited

Bierregaard R.O. Jr & J. S. Marks. 2018. Southern Caracara (Caracara plancus). In: del Hoyo J.; A. Elliott; J. Sargatal; D. A. Christie & E. de Juana. (Eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions; Barcelona. (Accessed on 26 September 2018).

Carvalho A. V.; J. C. Beckman; R. A. Maciel & J. T Farias Neto. 2013. Caracteristicas fisicas e quimicas de frutos de pupunheira no estado do Para. Revista Brasileira de Fruticultura; 35(3): 763-768. http://dx.doi. org/10.1590/S0100-29452013000300013

Clement; C. R. 1987. Pupunha uma arvore domesticada. Ciencia hoje 5(29): 66-73.

Clement C. R & L. A. Santos. 2002. Pupunha no mercado de Manaus: preferencias de consumidores e suas implicacoes. Revista Brasileira de Fruticultura;; 24(3): 778-779.

del Hoyo J.; N. Collar & J. S. Marks. 2018. Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway). del Hoyo J.; A. Elliott; J. Sargatal; D. A. Christie & E. de Juana. (Eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions; Barcelona. (accessed from on 27 September 2018).

DeLuca; J. J. 2012. Birds of conservation concern in eastern Acre; Brazil: distributional records; occupancy estimates; human-caused mortality; and opportunities for ecotourism. Tropical Conservation Science 5(3): 301-319.

Guilherme E. & R. E. Czaban. 2015. First record of the Yellowish Pipit in Acre with notes on others grassland bird species in southwestern Amazonia. Neotropical Biology and Conservation 10(3): 169-176. http://dx.doi. org/10.4013/nbc.2015.103.07

Guilherme E. 2016. Aves do Acre. Ed. Edufac; Rio Branco.

Guimaraes Jr. J. J. & M. Galetti. 2004. Seed dispersal of Attalea phalerata (Palmae) by Crested caracaras (Caracara plancus) in the Pantanal and a review of frugivory by raptors. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 12(2):133135.

Hempel A. 1949. Estudo da alimentacao natural de aves silvestres do Brasil. Arquivos do Instituto de Biologia 19: 237-268.

Lorenzi H.; H. Moreira de Souza; J. D. Medeiros-Costa; L. S. Coelho de Serqueira & E. Ferreira. 2004. Palmeiras brasileiras e exoticas cultivadas. Instituto Plantarum; Nova Odessa. 432p.

Neves E. J. M.; A. F. Santos; H. R. Rodigheri; C. Correa Junior; S. Bellettini & D. J. Tessmann. 2007. Cultivo da Pupunheira para Palmito nas Regioes Sudeste e Sul do Brasil. Embrapa; Circular Tecnica 143:1-9.

Rodriguez-Estrella R. & L. B. R. Rodriguez. 1997. Crested caracara food habits in the Cape region of Baja California; Mexico. Journal of Raptor Research 31(3): 228-233.

Sazima I. 2007. The jack-of-all-trades raptor: versatile foraging and wide trophic role of the Southern Caracara (Caracara plancus) in Brazil; with comments on feeding habits of the Caracarini. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 15(4): 592-597.

Sick H. 1997. Ornitologia brasileira; uma introducao. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Nova Fronteira.

Travaini A.; J. A. Donazar; O. Ceballos & F. Hiraldo. 2001. Food habits of the Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus) in the Andean Patagonia: the role of breeding constraints. Journal of Arid Environments 48:211-219.

Vargas R. J. & M. S. Bo. 2007. Diet of the Southern Caracara (Caracara plancus) in Mar Chiquita Reserve; Southern Argentina. J. Raptor Res. 41(2):113-121.


I am grateful to the owner of the peach-palm plantation who allowed me to make observations on his property.

Conflict of interest:

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Author declare that no specific funding has been provided for this work.

Ethics / legal aspects::

Not applicable. Observational information did not require permits specific.

Edson Guilherme

Universidade Federal do Acre, Centro de Ciencias Biologicas e da Natureza, Laboratorio de Ornitologia, Brazil.

Presentado: 23/10/2018

Aceptado: 10/03/2019

Publicado online: 06/07/2019


Edson Guilherme:

Campus Universitario, BR 364, km 04. Distrito Industrial. Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil. CEP: 69.920-900.

Other information of the authors / biography:

Caption: Figure 1 Interaction of the Southern Caracara (Caracara plancus) vs peach-palm (Bactris gasipaes) In the southwest of the Brazilian Amazon (Acre State). A--Individual perched in the bunch; and B--the same individual feeding on the pulp of a unripe fruit.
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Title Annotation:NOTA CIENTIFICA
Author:Guilherme, Edson
Publication:Revista peruana de biologia
Date:Jul 1, 2019
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