Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Plain Chachalaca

Feeding along with the Green Jays at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge were flocks of Plain Chachalacas.  These large birds are in the same order, Galliformes, as turkeys, but they do not seem otherwise closely related. They are assigned to a separate family, Cracidae. In fact, some evidence exists that they are most closely related to Bush Turkeys. Some ornithologists go as far as to assign the Cracidae and the Bush Turkeys to their own order, Craciformes, separate from turkeys, grouse, pheasants and quail (Handbook of the Birds of the World—Alive). In any event, chachalacas are primarily South American species, with only the Plain Chachalaca barely ranging north of the Rio Grande.

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