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Plain Chachalaca - Ortalis vetula



 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Galliformes 
 Family: Cracidae 
 Genus: Ortalis
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern


Plain ChachalacaPlain chachalacas are about 20-24 inches in length. They have a small head and dark brown feathers on their heads and backs, with lighter brown feathers on their chests. They have a very long, green-tinged tail with a white tip.






mapThe plain chachalaca is found from southern Texas in the Rio Grande Valley south to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The plain chachalaca does not migrate.


The plain chachalaca lives in river woodlands and thickets. They prefer to live close to water.


The plain chachalaca eats leaves, grain, berries, buds, and sometimes insects.

Life Cycle

Plain ChachalacaThe female lays 3-4 eggs in a nest made of sticks and lined with moss and leaves. Occasionally, she uses the old nests of other birds. The nest is usually made in a low tree branch or on heavy vine 3-30 feet off the ground. The eggs take 3-4 weeks to hatch, and the chicks leave the nest 2-3 weeks after they hatch.


The plain chachalaca is a very noisy bird. At dawn and sunset, groups of them call loudly from the treetops.

Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Daniel Lane cc logo