Abstract

The caracaras belong to a group of falconids with widespread geographical distribution in the Western Hemisphere, particularly in South America. Here we report fossil remains of a new species attributed to the genus Caracara from the late Pleistocene of Uruguay. This bird would have had an estimated body mass of 3700 grams, a value that greatly exceeds the maximum body mass reported for living falconids. Apparently, it would have had flying capabilities, in contrast to another paleospecies recently described from the Holocene of Jamaica. This fossil bird was found in association with mammal megafaunal remains and could offer new insights about the role of carnivorous birds in late Pleistocene environments of South America.

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