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Pseudastur albicollis

White Hawk

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Polytypic 4 Subspecies

Authors: Magnier, Brian, and Thomas S. Schulenberg

Leucopternis albicollis

Cinchona, Costa Rica; 2 September 2013 © Chris Jimenez

White Hawk is a widespread raptor of Neotropical forests. While most populations of this species are, as the name suggests, largely white, there is considerable geographic variation; the general trend is for increasing darkening of the plumage from north to south. Subspecies ghiesbreghti of southern Mexico and northern Central America is almost entirely white, while the Amazonian subspecies albicollis is mostly black on the mantle, upperwings, and tail. White Hawk is distinguished from sympatric species of white hawks by its large size, mostly white plumage, and gray cere. White Hawks are forest birds, but are regularly observed perched in trees at forest edge or soaring overhead and calling. They feed on a large assortment of prey items, but reptiles make up a major percentage of their diet. White Hawk lays one egg in a stick nest high in a tall tree.

Recommended Citation

Magnier, Brian, and Thomas S. Schulenberg. 2013. White Hawk (Pseudastur albicollis), 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 lowland evergreen forest
  • Foraging Strata:Canopy
  • Foraging Behavior:---
  • Diet:Small vertebrates and large arthropods
  • Sociality:Solitary
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Platform
  • Clutch: 1 - 1
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern