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Geranoaetus melanoleucus

Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Polytypic 2 Subspecies

Authors: Brower, Robby M., and Robbie L. Thorson

Geranoaetus melanoleucus

Colca Canyon, Arequipa, Peru; 15 March 2008 © Juan Chalco

Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle is one of the commoner large hawks in South American alpine steppe, mountains, grassy plains, and open woodland. It ranges in the Andes from northern Colombia south to the tip of Tierra del Fuego, and also is found  in the pampas of Argentina north into the grassland ecosystems of southeast Brazil. Mammals account for almost 95% of its prey, which it searches for on the wing. The buzzard-eagle is particularly reliant on the introduced European Rabbit; in one study this animal alone accounted for 44% of its prey items and 82% of its biomass intake. The flight profile of adult Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle is highly distinctive: it has long wings that appear very tapered due to the broad wing bases (elongated secondaries) and short, wedge shaped tail. Though distinctive as an adult, the juvenile plumages can be quite variable and must be separated with care from young Variable Hawk (Geranoaetus polyosoma).

Recommended Citation

Brower, Robby M., and Robbie L. Thorson. 2013. Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle (Geranoaetus melanoleucus), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Arid montane scrub
  • Foraging Strata:Undescribed
  • Foraging Behavior:---
  • Diet:Mammals
  • Sociality:Solitary/Pairs
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Platform
  • Clutch: 1 - 3
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern