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Black Hawk-eagle
Spizaetus tyrannus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Black Hawk Eagle, Tyrant Hawk Eagle, Tyrant Hawk-eagle.

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Spizaetus tyrannus
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Distribution: Neotropical. Central MEXICO south through Central America and eastern South America to northern ARGENTINA; uncommon west of the Andes. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. S. t. serus: Central MEXICO south through humid Central America to COLOMBIA east to the GUIANAS, TRINIDAD, northern and western BRAZIL, and south to PARAGUAY and northeastern ARGENTINA; some records west of the Andes in ECUADOR and PERU; S. t. tyrannus: Eastern and southeastern BRAZIL and extreme northeastern ARGENTINA. (Misiones).

Taxonomy: Authors as recently as Swann (1922) regarded this species as a color phase of S. ornatus. The recent molecular studies of Helbig et al. (2005) Lerner and Mindell (2005), Gamauf et al. (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. However, they recommended retaining both species in the genus Spizaetus along with the other two New World hawk-eagles. Helbig et al. (op cit.) advocated separating the more distantly related Asian hawk-eagle species into a different genus, Nisaetus. Gamauf et al. (op cit.) suggested placing this species in a separate, monotypic genus, Ptenura, to recognize its differences from the other Spizaetus species.

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant (Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in lowlands and foothills, frequenting gallery forest, but also occurring more often in disturbed forest, forest edges, late second-growth, and semi-open areas than S. ornatus. Soars frequently in the morning over the canopy or even nearby open areas, vocalizing loudly. It usually perches rather low in trees, apparently waiting in ambush before moving on to another stopping place (Slud 1964). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mostly on mammals (marmosets, squirrels, and opossums), but also on birds (chachalacas, macaws, toucans), large lizards and snakes. Hunts by flying from tree to tree, listening or looking for prey, then pursuing it in rapid chases. more....

Breeding: The nest is a large platform of sticks placed in a dense tangle of vines several meters from the main trunk of a large tree. The female incubates and attends the young, and the male delivers food to her, which she provides to the chick. Clutch size is 1 egg, which is white and unmarked. The nestling period at one Guatemalan nest was 71 days (Funes et al. 1992). more....

Conservation: Generally regarded as more common than the Ornate Hawk-eagle, possibly because it tends to occur nearer human settlements and may therefore be recorded more often. It may be more tolerant of human disturbance and habitat alteration than the Ornate Hawk-eagle, but still doubtless suffers from habitat loss and shooting. Categorized as a species of Least Concern by BirdLife International. more....

Population Estimates: Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) esimated the global population, including all adults and immatures at the start of the breeding season, in the range of 100,101 to 1,000,000 individuals. BirdLife International (2009) estimated that the total population of mature birds is more likely in the range of 20,000 to 49,999 individuals.

Important References: 
Bierregaard, R.O. 1994. Black Hawk-eagle. Pp. 204-205 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.
Funes, S.H., J. Lopez A., and G. Lopez A. 1992. Reproductive biology, food
  habits, and behavior of the Black Hawk-eagle in Tikal National Park. Pp.
  173-178 in D.F. Whitacre and R.K. Thorstrom (eds.). Maya
  Project progress report V, 1992. The Peregrine Fund, Inc., Boise, ID.
Helbig, A.J., A. Kocum, I. Seibold, and M.J. Braun. 2005. A multi-gene
  phylogeny of aquiline eagles (Aves: Accipitriformes) reveals extensive
  paraphyly at the genus level. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
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.
Rangel-Salazar, J.L., and P.L. Enriquez-Rocha. 1992. Nest record and
  dietary items for the Black Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus) from the Yucatan
  Peninsula. Journal of Raptor Research 27:121-122.
Smith, N.G. 1970. Nesting of King Vulture and Black Hawk-eagle in Panama.
  Condor 72:247-248.
Whitacre, D.F., J. López, G. López, S.H. Funes, C.J. Flatten, and J.A.
2012. Black Hawk-eagle. Pp. 185-202 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:
Black Hawk-eagle photos.
Aves de Rapina do Brasil
Species account with emphasis on Brazil.

Albuquerque, Jorge
Barbar, Facundo
Beers, Roy
Cabanne, Gustavo Sebastian
Canuto, Marcus
Carvalho, Carlos Eduardo Alencar
Carvalho Filho, Eduardo Pio Mendes
De Lucca, Eduardo Raul
Eisermann, Knut
Gallardo Del Angel, Julio Cesar
Giudice, Renzo
Gómez, César
Iñigo-Elias, Eduardo
Lisboa, Jorge
Martinez-Fernandez, Alberto
Naveda-Rodriguez, Adrian
Perez, Julio
Phillips, Ryan
Piana, Renzo
Quaglia, Agustin Ignacio Eugenio
Quirós Bazán, Norman
Salvador Jr, Luiz
Santos, Kassius Klay
Silveira da Silva, Elsimar
Vargas G., José de J.
Zorzin, Giancarlo

Last modified: 7/27/2012

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: Black Hawk-eagle Spizaetus tyrannus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 18 Apr. 2021

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