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Ornate Hawk-eagle
Spizaetus ornatus

Status: Near Threatened

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Barred Hawk-eagle, Manduyt's Hawk-eagle, Spizaetus mauduyti, Ornate Hawk Eagle.

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Spizaetus ornatus
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Distribution: Neotropical. Central MEXICO south through the lowlands and middle elevations of Central America to South America west of the Andes to northwestern PERU and east of the Andes and through the Amazon Basin south to northern ARGENTINA; TRINIDAD. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. S. o. vicarius: Central MEXICO (Colima, Hidalgo, Tamaulipas) south through Central America to western COLOMBIA, western ECUADOR, and northwestern PERU; S. o. ornatus: Eastern COLOMBIA east to the GUIANAS, south through eastern ECUADOR, northeastern PERU, northern and eastern BOLIVIA and BRAZIL to PARAGUAY and northern ARGENTINA (Jujuy to Misiones); TRINIDAD.

Taxonomy: The recent molecular studies of Helbig et al. (2005), Lerner and Mindell (2005), and Haring et al. (2007), based on DNA sequences of both mitochondrial and nuclear genes, indicated that S. ornatus and S. tyrannus are not each other's closest relatives and that the former is more closely related to Spizaetus (Spizastur) melanoleucus and Spizaetus (Oroaetus) isidori than to S. tyrannus. Helbig et al. (op cit.) advocated separating the more distantly related Asian hawk-eagle species into a different genus, Nisaetus and treating all four of the New World hawk-eagles as members of Spizaetus. S. ornatus includes S. devillei of Ecuador (see Hellmayr and Conover 1949, Amadon 1950). This species was formerly called Spizaetus mauduyti, and in some earlier accounts, the common name "Crested Hawk-Eagle" was used, leading to unnecessary confusion with the widespread Asian species, Nisaetus cirrhatus.

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant (Bildstein 2006) and also an altitudinal migrant in some areas.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in lowlands and middle elevations, preferring tall wet primary rainforest, but also occurring in pine forests in southern Mexico and Belize. Soars fairly frequently, but less than the Black Hawk-eagle, especially in the morning and earlier than other raptor species (Murphy 2004). It avoids perching in the semi-open (Slud 1964).more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mostly on birds (up to curassow- or guan-sized), but also takes small to medium-sized mammals, large lizards, and snakes. Hunts mostly inside the forest, flying silently and swiftly between perches, capturing prey in trees and on ground. Robinson (1994) reported two observations in Peru of this eagle diving from concealed perches on the ground to capture wood-rats and also four observations of these hawk-eagles diving into shallow water to capture gallinules and wood rails. more....

Breeding: Egg-laying usually takes place in the dry season, and the chick hatches just prior to the wet season, when avian prey is most abundant. The nest is a bulky platform of sticks, lined with fresh green leaves, and placed in fork near the top of a large tree. Nests are sometimes re-used in subsequent years. Both adults participate in nest building and incubation, but the female performs the majority of these duties. Males deliver food to the nest early in the nestling period, but later, the female begins hunting, and both parents feed the chick. Clutch size is 1 egg, which is white with faint reddish-brown spots. The incubation period was 47, 47, and 50 days at three nests in Guatemala (Madrid M. et al. 1992). The nestling period in Guatemala was very variable, ranging from 66 to 93 days and averaging 79 days (Madrid M. et al. op cit.). A successful breeding attempt from laying to dispersing lasts an average of 23.5 months, so this species usually breeds every two years. Lost clutches are usually replaced. more....

Conservation: Generally fairly common in suitable habitat throughout its vast range, but at risk in many areas from habitat loss. It is also subject to shooting because it is regarded as a threat to poultry. This species has a broader distribution than the Black Hawk-eagle, but it is usually less common where they occur together. Its status was changed from Least Concern to Near Threatened by BirdLife International in 2012. more....

Population Estimates: Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) estimated the global population, including all adults and immatures at the start of the breeding season, in the range of 10,001 to 100,000 and thought it is most likely in the higher tens of thousands. BirdLife International (2009) also placed the population of mature birds in the 10,000 to 100,000 range, but noted that the data supporting this estimate are poor.

Important References: 
Bierregaard, R.O. 1994. Ornate Hawk-eagle. P. 205 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.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Flatten, C.J., J.A. Madrid M., H.D. Madrid M., S.H. Funes A., A.E.
  Hernandez C., and R. Botzoc G.
1990. Biology of the Ornate Hawk-eagle
  (Spizaetus ornatus). Pp. 129-144 in W.A. Burnham, D.R. Whitacre, and J.P.
  Jenny (eds.), Maya Project Progress Report III, 1990. The Peregrine Fund,
  Inc., Boise, ID.
Klein, B.C., L.H. Harper, R.O. Bierregaard, and G.V.N. Powell. 1988. The
  nesting and feeding behavior of the Ornate Hawk-eagle near Manaus, Brazil.
  Condor 90:239-241.
Lyon, B., and A. Kuhnigk. 1985. Observations on nesting Ornate Hawk-eagles
  in Guatemala. Wilson Bulletin 97:141-147.
Madrid M., H.D., J.A. Madrid M., J.R. Cruz E., J.L. Córdova A., M.
  Castillo R., W.E. Martinez A., and A. Ramos C.
1992. Behavior and breeding
  biology of the Ornate Hawk-eagle. Pp. 179-182 in D.F. Whitacre and R.K.
  Thorstrom (eds.). Maya Project progress report V, 1992. The Peregrine Fund,
  Inc. Boise, ID.
Whitacre, D.F., J.A. Madrid, H.D. Madrid, R. Cruz, C.J. Flatten, and S.H.
2012. Ornate Hawk-eagle. Pp. 203-233 in D.F. Whitacre (ed.),
  Neotropical birds of prey: biology and ecology of a forest raptor community.
  Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.

Sites of Interest:
Ornate Hawk-eagle photos.
Aves de Rapina do Brasil
Species account with emphasis on Brazil.

Albuquerque, Jorge
Azevedo, Marcos Antônio Guimarães
Balza, Ulises
Barbar, Facundo
Beaumont, John
Beingolea, Oscar
Calmé, Sophie
Carvalho, Carlos Eduardo Alencar
Carvalho Filho, Eduardo Pio Mendes
Coulson, Jennifer O.
Curti, Marta
De Lucca, Eduardo Raul
Eisermann, Knut
Gallardo Del Angel, Julio Cesar
Giudice, Renzo
Gómez, César
Iñigo-Elias, Eduardo
Lima, Fernando
Lisboa, Jorge
Martinez-Fernandez, Alberto
Muela, Angel
Muñiz López, Ruth
Naveda-Rodriguez, Adrian
Ospina, Alex
Perez, Julio
Phillips, Ryan
Piana, Renzo
Quaglia, Agustin Ignacio Eugenio
Quirós Bazán, Norman
Salvador Jr, Luiz
Santos, Kassius Klay
Seipke, Sergio H.
Shrum, Peggy
Silveira da Silva, Elsimar
Vargas G., José de J.
Zorzin, Giancarlo
Zuluaga Castañeda, Santiago

Last modified: 8/20/2012

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: Ornate Hawk-eagle Spizaetus ornatus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 26 Oct. 2021

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