|Conservation status||In Texas, numbers probably stable, with good populations at a few protected parks and refuges. In Mexico and Central America, probably declining but still locally common.|
|Habitat||Subtropical woods, river groves, dense brush. In south Texas usually found near water, as around ponds, resacas, riverbanks. Generally in native woodlands of ebony, hackberry, huisache, and mesquite, but also found around edges of overgrown orchards and well-wooded suburbs of Rio Grande Valley towns.|
Forages on ground or in shrubs and trees, often climbing about precariously in thin branches.
2-3, sometimes 4. Creamy white. Incubation is by female only, about 25 days. Young: Downy young leave nest shortly after hatching. Both parents care for young, feeding them by regurgitation at first. Young can flutter short distances within a few days after hatching, can fly up into brush at 2-3 weeks, but not full-grown until sometime later.
Downy young leave nest shortly after hatching. Both parents care for young, feeding them by regurgitation at first. Young can flutter short distances within a few days after hatching, can fly up into brush at 2-3 weeks, but not full-grown until sometime later.
Mostly berries, leaves, buds, seeds. Diet in south Texas is mostly vegetarian, eating various parts of a wide variety of plants; includes berries of coyotillo, pigeonberry, and hackberry, and others, plus seeds, leaves, buds, and flowers. Also eats a few insects and snails. Where accustomed to humans in certain parks, will come to eat birdseed, popcorn, bread, and other junk food.
In southern Texas, usually nests in woods very close to water. Nest site is on limb or in fork of branches, sometimes in vines or in broken-off stub, in tree within dense cover. Usually 4-15' above ground, sometimes up to 35'. Nest is a flat platform of sticks, twigs, weeds, leaves, Spanish moss, with a depression in the center; an old nest of some other bird may be used as the foundation.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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- Migration - Uncommon
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Songs and CallsLoud, raucous cha-cha-lac, often in chorus at dawn and dusk. Call of male lower pitched than female's.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Plain Chachalaca
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Climate threats facing the Plain Chachalaca
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