Caracaras are birds of prey in the family Falconidae. They are traditionally placed in the subfamily Polyborinae, but are sometimes considered part of their own subfamily,Caracarinae, or members of the true falcon subfamily, Falconinae. Caracaras are principally birds of South and Central America, just reaching the southern United States.

Unlike the Falco falcons in the same family, the birds in the five relevant genera are not fast-flying aerial hunters, but are comparatively slow and are often scavengers (a notable exception being the Red-throated Caracara).