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Crowned Solitary Eagle
Buteogallus coronatus

Status: Endangered

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Crowned Eagle, Crowned Solitary-eagle, Harpyhaliaetus coronatus, Urubitornis coronatus.

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Buteogallus coronatus
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Distribution: Neotropical.  Eastern BOLIVIA (Santa Cruz), western PARAGUAY, and southern BRAZIL (south from Mato Grosso and Goiás to PARAGUAY and southern ARGENTINA (Mendoza and Rio Negro); formerly western URUGUAY. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Hellmayr and Conover (1949) lumped this species with H. solitarius, but Wetmore (1965) suggested that the two species are so different that they might be better placed in separate genera. Sibley and Monroe (1990) regarded them as a superspecies, and molecular studies have confirmed that they are closely related, but not conspecific. Brown (1970) thought that Harpyhaliaetus is closely related to the harpy eagle group. However, the molecular studies of Lerner and Mindell (2005) and Amaral et al. (2006) showed they are more closely related to Buteogallus (particularly the Great Black-hawk, B. urubitinga) than to other eagles of the genera Aquila, Spizaetus, and Harpia and that this species is part of a clade formed by L. plumbeus, L. schistacea, L. lacernulatus, Buteogallus urubitinga, and B. meridionalis. The generic name Urubitornis was used by Peters 1931, Friedmann 1950, and Wetmore (1965).

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant (Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in mostly open country, including grasslands, brushlands, savannas, and lightly wooded foothills, where it soars or perches for long periods in tall trees, on fenceposts, stakes, or even on the ground. Often occurs in pairs, at times accompanied by a juvenile. Semi-crepuscular and somewhat wary in most areas, although Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) mentioned that it is "approachable"). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mostly on armadillos and other medium-sized mammals, especially skunks, medium-sized birds, lizards, and carrion of various types. more....

Breeding: The nest is a huge platform of sticks placed high in a main fork of a large tree. The clutch size is a single egg, which is white and unmarked (Sick and Texeira 1977). In Argentina, egg-laying extends from August to October, and hatching occurs in November-December (Maceda 2007). Generally, only the female incubates, and the male is present at the nest only when he is delivering food to the female. The incubation period at an Argentine nest was at least 39 or 40 days, but the nest was abandoned before hatching (Di Giacomo 2005). more....

Threats: Albuquerque et al. (2006) described how this species and other large eagles are threatened in the Brazilian Atlantic forest by habitat destruction, especially the conversion of pristine forest into charcoal and their replacement by pine plantations, and by hydropower dams, which flood important forest remnants in river gorges, e.g., as at Pelota and the Uruguay River. Sarasola and Maceda (2006) analyzed mortality factors for this species in the semi-arid forest of La Pampa Province, central Argentina, and they obtained data from interviews with 62 local landowners. Of these, 38 admitted having killed or disturbed eagles in the past, but only two regarded the birds as a problem to livestock. They established the cause of death for eight birds between 1999-2004, of which five were shot, one was killed by a car, one was found dead in a water trough, and one was captured. They found some evidence that 10 more eagles were shot, disturbed, or trapped during this period. The first record of a naturally-caused death of a nestling was reported by Pereyra Lobos et al. (2007), who found a 20-day old chick that fell from its nest during a strong wind storm. Salvador et al. (2007) reported three adults found dead under powerlines in Mendoza Province, apparently victims of electrocution, and this may represent an important source of mortality for this species.

Conservation: Rare or uncommon throughout its range, suffering from habitat loss, mostly from the conversion of grasslands and open woodlands to agriculture, and shooting for various reason. The effects of agricultural pesticides on this species and other large raptors in austral South America are not well known. The available information suggests that this eagle has a very small, highly fragmented population and probably a significant and continuing decline in numbers. It is classified globally as Endangered by BirdLife International and as Endangered or Vulnerable in the individual countries and states where it occurs. Canal et al published the results of their genetic sampling in 2017 and found that the population had experienced a demographic reduction but inbreeding was not yet detected. more....

Population Estimates: Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) estimated the global population (defined as the number of adults and immatures at the start of the breeding season) at over 1,000 individuals and were critical of an earlier BirdLife International estimate of a range of 2,500-10,000 individuals. The latter group now (2009) estimates the total population of mature birds at 250-999 individuals.

Important References: 

Bierregaard, R.O. 1994. Crowned Solitary Eagle. Pp. 175-176 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.
BirdLife International. 2000. Threatened birds of the world. Lynx
  Edicions, Barcelona, Spain, and BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
Collar, N.J., L.P. Gonzaga, N. Krabbe, A. Madroño Nieto, L.G. Naranjo,
  T.A. Parker, III, and D.C. Wege.
1992. Threatened birds of the America: the
  ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation,
  Cambridge, UK.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Maceda, J.J. 2007. [Biology and conservation of the Crowned Solitary Eagle
  (Harpyhaliaetus coronatus) in Argentina]. Hornero 22:159-171. (In Spanish
  with English summary)
Sick, H. 1997. Ornitologia brasileira. Nova Fronteira, Rio de Janeiro,
Canal, D.; Roques, S.; Negro, J.J.; Sarasola, J.H. 2017. Population
  genetics of the endangered Crowned Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus coronatus) in
  South America. Conservation Genetics 18(1):235-240


Sites of Interest:
Crowned Solitary Eagle photos.
Aves de Rapina do Brasil
Species account with emphasis on Brazil.

Alvarado Orellana, Sergio Alfredo
Balza, Ulises
Canuto, Marcus
Carvalho Filho, Eduardo Pio Mendes
De Lucca, Eduardo Raul
Galmes, Maximiliano Adrián
Paulini, Hugo
Pereyra Lobos, Roberto
Quaglia, Agustin Ignacio Eugenio
Rodriguez, Ramiro Ezequiel
Salvador Jr, Luiz
Santos, Kassius Klay
Sarasola, José Hernán
Sympson, Lorenzo
Zorzin, Giancarlo

Last modified: 2/16/2017

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: Crowned Solitary Eagle Buteogallus coronatus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 19 Apr. 2021

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