Great Black Hawk Buteogallus urubitinga

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: John van Dort


Geographic Variation

Two subspecies:

ridgwayi , described as Urubitinga ridgwayi Gurney 1884; type locality Guatemala

Occurs from Mexico to eastern Panama

urubitinga , described as Falco Urubitinga Gmelin 1788; type locality northeastern Brazil

Occurs from eastern Panama south, west of the Andes, to northwestern Peru and, east of the Andes, to Paraguay, Uruguay, and northern Argentina.

Intermediates occur where ranges meet in eastern Panama (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). See Appearance for distinguishing characteristics.

Related Species

Despite the close similarity of Great Black Hawk and Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus), phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data (from both mitochondrial and nuclear genes) reveals these two species are not closely related within Buteogallus (Lerner et al. 2008, Raposo do Amaral et al. 2009). Great Black Hawk forms a clade with two sister species, Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus solitarius) and Chaco Eagle (Buteogallus coronatus), whereas Common Black Hawk is closest to Rufous Crab Hawk (Buteogallus aequinoctialis) and, presumably, to Cuban Black Hawk (Buteogallus gundlachii) (which has not yet been sampled in a phylogenetic study based on genetic data).

Recommended Citation

van Dort, J. (2019). Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.