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Spizaetus melanoleucus

Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Tate, Adam Robert

Spizaetus melanoleucus

Kourou, Guyane, French Guiana; 9 November 2008 © alapi973

The Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle is a poorly known large raptor of Neotropical forests. While its affinities have been debated, recent molecular evidence supports its placement within the genus Spizaetus. It is largely white, with a black back and upperwings, black eye patches, a small black coronal patch, and black-and-gray barred tail. This hawk-eagle superficially resembles the immature Gray-headed Kite (Leptodon cayanensis), but is much larger and has a small black patch around the eye (yellow in the kite). It occurs from Mexico south through the Amazon basin and in the Atlantic coastal forest of Brazil south to northern Argentina. It is present in a variety of habitats, generally in areas with a mix of forest and some open areas. It feeds on mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians by soaring and then diving on prey. The only documented nest of the Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle was made of sticks and placed high in a tall tree on a ridge.

Recommended Citation

Tate, Adam Robert. 2012. Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus 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:Tropical lowland evergreen forest
  • Foraging Strata:Canopy
  • Foraging Behavior:---
  • Diet:Birds
  • Sociality:Solitary
  • Mating System:---
  • Nest Form:Platform
  • Clutch: -
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern