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Solitary Eagle Buteogallus solitarius

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors needed...

The Solitary Eagle is a very large raptor of forested mountains. It primarily occurs in humid montane forest in Central and South America from Mexico south to Bolivia, but also is found in drier pine-oak forest in northern Mexico. Due to its large size and home range, it occurs in very low densities throughout its distribution and is most often seen at a distance in soaring flight. The diet of the Solitary Eagle is very poorly known, but it is likely to include snakes. In flight the eagle appears very large and all dark with a distinctive, very short-tailed profile. In all plumages it is very similar to the smaller Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus). In flight, the eagle is best distinguished by very large size, broad wings and very short tail, with the wings barely extending beyond secondaries. Perched birds are more difficult to identify, but Solitary Eagles are grayer than the Great Black Hawk with a tail that does not extend beyond the wing tips when at rest.

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© Gary Rosenberg

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus solitarius), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: