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|Until recently, this species was
considered to be extinct in northern Central America, and indeed
much of its former range. However, Mark Bonta had heard one
calling and had anecdotal reports that they were still found
in the pine forests of Olancho in Honduras. In October 2002,
Adam Narish and I were heading from La Muralla along route 41
towards the north coast when we saw two individuals that were
calling loudly and eating from an arboreal wasps nest. This
was the first confirmed report in over 30 years. Locals were
very familiar with this species which they call the Ca-ca-cacao,
because of its load and noticeable call.
This species formally ranged from southern Mexico, through most
of Central America and throughout much of South America. Over
the latter part of the 20th century there was a dramatic and
unexplained decline across most of its range (except the Amazon
basin), leaving only a handful of known sites in Central America.
Throughout most of its range it is considered to be primarily
a rainforest species. Its continued presence in the pine forests
of Olancho is interesting in that it may shed light on the reasons
for the dramatic decline of this species, even in areas where
its habitat remain intact. It would be interesting to see if
the wasps it feeds on are a different species to those found
in the rainforest. A decline in the wasps, possibly the result
of insecticides, is a possible explanation for the decline.
Narish, A. J. and Jenner T. J. Notes on the Red-throated
Caracara Ibycter americanus in Honduras Cotinga 22: 100-101.