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Accipiter bicolor

Bicolored Hawk

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Polytypic 5 Subspecies


Accipiter bicolor

Carrizal, Alajuela, Costa Rica; 22 April 2013 © Chris Jiménez Nature Photo

The Bicolored Hawk is a medium-sized Accipiter of lowland forests. Most plumages are largely gray, with a dark gray cap, banded tail, and rufous thighs. There is considerable variation, both due to polymorphism and geographic variation, largely consisting of differences in underparts coloration. Subspecies chilensis of southern temperate forests is particularly distinct and has sometimes been treated as a separate species ("Chilean" Hawk). It has white underparts with narrow dark barring. All populations are generally readily distinguished from other Accipiter species using a combination of plumage details, size, and shape. Some populations closely resemble the Rufous-thighed Kite (Harpagus diodon), but have a lankier, smaller-headed structure and lack the double-notched bill of that species. The Bicolored Hawk feeds on birds captured in active aerial pursuit after either sitting-and-waiting on a favored perch or ambushing unsuspecting prey. It builds a stick nest in a tall tree, often near a clearing. It is resident from Mexico south to Ecuador and east of the Andes south to northern Argentina. "Chilean Hawk" (Accipiter bicolor chilensis) is a disjunct subspecies (or separate species?) that breeds in southern and central Chile and adjacent Argentina and migrates north to northwestern Argentina.

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Recommended Citation

. 2010. Bicolored Hawk (Accipiter bicolor), 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:Tropical deciduous forest
  • Foraging Strata:Canopy
  • Foraging Behavior:---
  • Diet:Birds
  • Sociality:
  • Mating System:
  • Nest Form:
  • Clutch: -
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern