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Aggregations of Southern Caracaras (Caracara plancus) in soybean plantations in central Cerrado, Brazil

Dárius Pukenis Tubelis

Abstract


This study reports on large aggregations of Southern Caracaras (Caracara plancus) in soybean plantations in the surroundings of Parque Nacional das Emas, southwestern Brazil. Observations were done during harvesting activities in February 2009. Aggregations were found by driving a vehicle through roads that crossed or bordered soybean plantations located at less than 4 km from this park. For each aggregation detected, individuals found around harvesting machines were counted. The abundance of Southern Caracaras of each aggregation ranged between 76 and 104 individuals (n = 8). Despite the attraction of high numbers of caracaras to proximities of machines, most of them appear to do not obtain much food resources during harvesting of soybean fields. Caracaras were seen capturing small mammals, lizards, birds and large insects. This association between C. plancus and harvesting activities can be considered as opportunist behavior in response to rapid modification of grain-production landscapes in the Cerrado.


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