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Species Guide

East Brazilian Chachalaca

Ortalis araucuan

The East Brazilian chachalaca, a member of the Cracidae family, is a bird of modest yet distinctive appearance. It measures approximately 50 cm in length, presenting a somewhat subdued palette of colors. The crown and nape of this species are a dull rufous, while the upperparts are a more conventional brown. A reddish rump adds a touch of warmth to its plumage, and a striking red gular patch is a notable feature. The eyes of this bird are dark brown, encircled by a ring of bare slate blue skin.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the East Brazilian chachalaca, look for the bird's dark brown upper throat and breast, which are adorned with whitish spots in females and buffy spots in males. The rest of the underparts are predominantly white, save for an ochre vent. The bird's overall coloration and the distinctive red gular patch are key identification markers.


This species is endemic to the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil, where it can be found in a variety of environments including secondary forests, the dry scrubland known as caatinga, and restinga, which are coastal forests growing on sandy soil.


The East Brazilian chachalaca inhabits a relatively narrow strip along the far eastern part of Brazil, ranging from Rio Grande do Norte down through Espirito Santo to Minas Gerais.


Flocks of the East Brazilian chachalaca, typically comprising up to seven individuals, can be observed foraging together. While the details of its diet are not exhaustively documented, it is primarily frugivorous.


Breeding habits of the East Brazilian chachalaca are not well-documented. However, a nest observed in the wild was a simple, shallow bowl constructed from twigs and leaves, positioned about 3.2 meters above ground in dense foliage. It contained a clutch of three eggs.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the East Brazilian chachalaca are characterized by a repeated 're-a-tok' sound, which is distinct from the five-syllable song of its relative, the speckled chachalaca.

Conservation status

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the East Brazilian chachalaca as Least Concern. Although the exact population numbers are not known, the species is generally considered to be common and stable in number. It seems to be quite adaptable to human presence and altered habitats, though it does face some threats from habitat destruction and hunting.

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East Brazilian Chachalacas on Birda

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Luis Eduardo Urueña
06 Oct 2022 - 3:57pm

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