Phalcoboenus napieri Adams & Woods

Napier’s Caracara (Phalcoboenus napieri)  

This small genus of birds of prey contains four or five recent species and another recently extinct one.  


This species was described in 2016 based on subfossil bones which were recovered from a peat bog on West Point Island, Falkland Islands, and which were dated to 5480 to 5200 BP..  

Napier’s Caracara was larger and more robust than the (Phalcoboenus australis (Gmelin)) [see photo], which today is the only bird of prey on these islands.  

The two species obviously lived sympatrically, feeding in the large seabird colonies. [1]  


However, in my opinion, there is a slight chance, that the extinct form is nothing but a larger version of the surviving one. It is well known that some species were larger in former times, yet anthropogenic influences apparently adversely affect larger individuals within a population and thus lead the a decrease in individual size within this population.  



[1] Mark P. Adams; Robin W. Woods: Mid-Holocene Falkland Islands bird bones from a peat deposit, including a new species of caracara. Emu 116(4): 370-378. 2016  


Striated Caracara (Phalcoboenus australis)  

Photo: JoJan

(under creative commons license (3.0))


edited: 23.03.2018