Plain Chachalaca

Ortalis vetula

Plain Chachalacas range from southern Texas south through eastern Mexico, Yucatan and northern Central America. We often hear the raucous calls of these chicken or pheasant sized birds before we see them. Related to guans, curassows, and other chachalacas, the Plain Chachalaca is the only member of this clan to establish a home in the USA.

Science recognizes five subspecies of the Plain Chachalaca. It is the race O. v. mccallii that we find in Texas. For such a large bird, they can be elusive if they choose to be. Like roadrunners, they prefer to run away rather than fly, but flight is entirely in their repertoire. They often perch high in the canopy of the woodlands they live in.

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