The etch rate of HfxLayOz films in Cl2/BCl3 plasmas was measured in-situ in an inductively coupled plasma reactor using a quartz crystal microbalance and corroborated by cross-sectional SEM measurements. The etch rate depended on the ion energy as well as the plasma chemistry. In contrast to other Hf-based ternary oxides, the etch rate of HfxLayOz films was higher in Cl2 than in BCl3. In the etching of Hf0.25La0.12O0.63, Hf appeared to be preferentially removed in Cl2 plasmas, per surface compositional analysis by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and the detection of HfCl3 generation in mass spectroscopy. These findings were consistent with the higher etch rate of Hf0.25La0.12O0.63 than that of La2O3.