Chestnut-headed Chachalaca (Ortalis ruficeps)

The Chestnut-headed Chachalaca is a medium-sized bird species that belongs to the Cracidae family, which also includes guans and curassows. The bird is primarily found in Central America, specifically in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. It inhabits both humid and dry forests, as well as areas with thick vegetation and undergrowth.

The Chestnut-headed Chachalaca has a distinct appearance, characterized by its medium-sized body, long tail, and chestnut colored head. The bird's wings, shoulders, and body are covered in light brown feathers, while its underbelly is pale cream. Additionally, its legs are long and powerful, with sharp claws that allow for easy movement on the ground.

These birds are particularly vocal, especially during the early morning. They make a distinctive "cha-cha-lac" call, which often echoes throughout the forest. They are known to reside in small family groups, typically consisting of a mating pair and their offspring.

The Chestnut-headed Chuachalaca is primarily a herbivore. Its diet consists mostly of fruits, including berries, figs, and other pulpy fruits, as well as leaves and flowers. They are also known to eat small insects and nuts when fruit is scarce. They use their strong beaks to crack open tough items such as acorns.

Unfortunately, the Chestnut-headed Chachalaca population is facing several threats, primarily habitat destruction and hunting. In some Latin American countries, these birds are considered a delicacy, making them targets for hunters. Additionally, the destruction of their habitat for agricultural purposes has significantly reduced their numbers.

Efforts are currently underway to ensure the survival of this species. Several conservation programs have been implemented to protect their natural habitats and discourage hunting. Additionally, breeding programs have been established to ensure the continued survival of the Chestnut-headed Chachalaca.

In conclusion, the Chestnut-headed Chachalaca is a unique bird species that provides a valuable contribution to the ecosystem. The bird's distinctive appearance and vocalization make it a vital component of the Central American forest ecosystem. Conservation efforts must continue to ensure that this species does not become extinct.

Other names

Ortalis ruficeps



Chestnut-headed Chachalaca



čačalaka hnědohlavá

Kastanjehovedet Chachalaca


Petite Ortalide


czakalaka mała


Čačalaka kestenjaste glave

čačalaka hrdzavohlavá

Chachalaca con Cabeza Castaña

brunhuvad chachalaca

Güneyli Küçük Çaçakala

чачалака бразильська