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Black-chested Buzzard-eagle
Geranoaetus melanoleucus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Buteo melanoleucus, Black Buzzard-eagle, Black-chested Eagle, Black-breasted Buzzard, Black-breasted Buzzard-eagle, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Black-chested Eagle-buzzard, Black-chested Hawk, Buteo fuscescens, Chilean Buzzard, Geranoaetus melanoleucus, Gray Eagle, Gray Eagle-buzzard, Gray Buzzard-eagle.

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Geranoaetus melanoleucus
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Distribution: Neotropical. COLOMBIA south along both sides of the Andes to southern CHILE, northern ARGENTINA and TIERRA DEL FUEGO. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. G. m. australis: COLOMBIA and northwestern VENEZUELA (Mérida) south through the entire length of the Andes to CHILE, Patagonian ARGENTINA, and TIERRA DEL FUEGO; G. m. melanoleucus: Southeastern BRAZIL to PARAGUAY, URUGUAY, and northeastern ARGENTINA. more....

Taxonomy: This species was formerly called Buteo fuscescens by various authors, including Wetmore (1933), Hellmayr and Conover (1949) and Johnson (1965), but Amadon (1963) and Thiollay (1994) contended that it is more closely related to Buteogallus and Leucopternis than to Buteo. They placed it in a separate, monotypic genus, Geranoaetus, a treatment followed by most recent authors. The molecular studies of Riesing et al. (2003), however, indicated that this species is a true Buteo. Clark and Schmitt (2006) also agreed that this species is a Buteo, based on morphological characters, and they recommended that its vernacular name be changed to "Black-breasted Buzzard." The DNA studies of Lerner et al. (2008) indicated that this species is in a clade with B. albicaudatus and B. polyosoma (including B. poecilochrous). Despite these congruent findings, a recent proposal to merge Geranoaetus into Buteo was not passed by the AOU's South American Classification Committee (Remsen et al. 2008).

Movements: Partial migrant (Bildstein 2006). According to Ortiz and Capllonch (2007), birds breeding in central Argentina migrate northward in the non-breeding season, and others are altitudinal migrants, moving from the Andes eastward to lower areas.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in most regions at middle elevations and montane regions, even above treeline, but descends to the coast in Peru and to lowlands in the southeastern portion of range. Prefers open dry habitats in rugged terrain. Soars incessantly, often in pairs. Also perches on rocky cliffs, on power poles, or on the ground, but seldom in trees. May cruise along roadways in some areas. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mostly on small mammals, birds, snakes, lizards, and carrion; also raids bird nests to feed on nestlings. Domestic pigeons are a particularly important prey item in many areas. Zorzin et al. (2007) observed pairs hunting pigeons cooperatively, and they saw another bird chasing ants in flight in Minas Gerais, Brazil. more....

Breeding: Builds a bulky stick nest placed on a rock, ledge, or cliff. Clutch size is 1-3 eggs, which are white and occasionally lightly marked with brown spots. The incubation period was given as 37 to 42 days in Argentina (Saggese and de Lucca 2001), but as 27 to 30 days by Zorzin et al. (2007) and 34 days (Salvador et al. 2008) in Brazil. Both sexes incubate about equally, but the male captures most of the prey that is fed to the nestlings by the female (Salvador et al. 2008). more....

Conservation: Generally fairly common throughout much of its extensive range, except in the most northern portion (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990). Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Bierregaard, R.O. 1994. Black-chested Buzzard-eagle. P. 175 in del Hoyo,
  J., A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol.
  2. New World vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
De Lucca, E.R., and M.D. Saggese. 1995. Fratricidio en el Águila Mora
  Geranoaetus melanoleucus. Hornero 14:38-39.
Hiraldo, F., J. Donázar, O. Ceballos, A. Travaini, J. Bustamante, and M.
1995. Breeding biology of Grey Buzzard-eagle population in
  Patagonia. Wilson Bulletin 107:675-685.
Jiménez, J., and F.M. Jaksic. 1989. Behavioral ecology of Grey
  Eagle-buzzards, Geranoaetus melanoleucus, in central Chile.
  Condor 91:913-921.
Jiménez, J., and F.M. Jaksic. 1990. [Natural history of the eagle
  Geranoaetus melanoleucus: a review.] Hornero 13:97-110.
Lerner, H.R., and D.P. Mindell. 2005. Phylogeny of eagles, Old World
  vultures, and other Accipitridae based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37:327-346.
Pavez, E.F. 2001. Breeding biology of the Black-chested Eagle Geranoaetus
(Aves: Accipitridae) in Central Chile.] Revista Chilena de
  Historia Natural 74:687-697. (In Spanish)
Saggese, M.D., and E.R. de Lucca. 2001. Biología reproductiva del Águila
  Mora (Geranoaetus melanoleucus) en la Patagonia Sur, Argentina. Hornero
Schoonmaker, P. 1984. Observations on the nesting of the Black-chested
  Buzzard-eagle (Geranoaetus melanoleucus) in Peru. Condor
Seipke, S.H. 2007. Aging Black-chested Buzzard-eagles (Geranoaetus
). Pp. 220-228 in K.L. Bildstein, D.R. Barber, and A.
  Zimmerman (eds.), Neotropical ornithology. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary,
  Orwigsburg, PA.
Zorzin, G., C.E.A. Carvalho, and E.P.M. Carvalho Filho. 2007. Breeding
  biology, diet, and distribution of the Black-chested Buzzard-eagle
  (Geranoaetus melanoleucus) in Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil. Pp.
  40-46 in K.L Bildstein, D.R. Barber, and A. Zimmerman (eds.),
  Neotropical raptors. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Orwigsburg, PA.

Sites of Interest:
Black-chested Buzzard-eagle photos.
Aves de Rapina do Brasil
Species account with emphasis on Brazil.

Alvarado Orellana, Sergio Alfredo
Barbar, Facundo
De Lucca, Eduardo Raul
Escobar Gimpel, Víctor Mauricio
Hendriks, Joep
Iscold, Daniel
Jaksic, Fabián
Lambertucci, Sergio
Marin, Manuel
Ospina, Alex
Paulini, Hugo
Pereyra Lobos, Roberto
Raimilla Almonacid, Victor
Rodriguez, Ramiro Ezequiel
Salvador Jr, Luiz
Santos, Kassius Klay
Silva-Quintas, Carlos
Varela, Nestor
Zorzin, Giancarlo
Zuluaga Castañeda, Santiago

Last modified: 6/6/2013

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Black-chested Buzzard-eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 5 Aug. 2020

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