Posted by rajesh mohan on January 11, 2022 at 9:40 am
This was a fascinating sight at the beach on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. I was watching many birds foraging in the low tide when a Crested Caracara flew in and walked right up to a Black Vulture. And in an amazing show of behavior, the vulture started to preen the caracara. There was a moment when the vulture stopped and caracara nudged for more. The preening lasted about 3 minutes.
There are some research papers that recorded this behavior and attributed it to their symbiotic relationship (links below). While vultures lead to carcasses, the caracara’s scream warns the vultures. This allopreening is to enforce bonding. Truly an amazing sight.