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Spizaetus tyrannus

Black Hawk-Eagle

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

Authors: Quintero, Ignacio, and Andrés Jácome

Spizaetus tyrannus

Calakmul, Campeche, Mexico; 13 October 2007 © Christopher L. Wood

The Black Hawk-Eagle is a large, black raptor of Neotropical forests. It has a prominent crest, is blackish with narrow white barring below, and broad gray bars on the tail. In flight, this species has a distinctive silhouette with broad, paddle-shaped wings and a rather long tail. The immature is largely buffy-white, with black mottling and streaking. This hawk-eagle occurs in both open and dense forests, and is the most frequently seen of the Neotropical forest eagles. Individuals often soar high overhead, where they attract attention with sharp, whistled calls. They feed on mammals, birds, and reptiles, taken largely from trees and detected from a favorite perch. The stick nest is placed in the canopy, where it is often supported by branches and vines. As in other Neotropical eagles, development is slow and this species likely only nests once every two or three years. The Black Hawk-Eagle occurs from Mexico south through the Amazon basin as well as in Atlantic coastal forest from eastern Brazil south to northern Argentina.

Recommended Citation

Quintero, Ignacio, and Andrés Jácome. 2011. Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus), 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:Birds
  • Sociality:Solitary
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Platform
  • Clutch: -
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern