Black Hawk-Eagle, Spizaetus tyrannus

The Black Hawk-Eagle, (Spizaetus tyrannus), also known as the Tyrant Hawk-Eagle, is a species of bird of prey found from Central Mexico to eastern Peru, the south of Brazil, and far northern Argentina. Its habitats include humid and moist forests close to rivers, and several types of woodland. It is fairly common throughout most of its range. It is closely related to the Ornate Hawk-Eagle, which is similar in size and appearance, but is found at lower elevations.

The Black Hawk-Eagle is 23 to 28 inches in length and weighs about 2 to 3 pounds. It has black plumage with varying patterns on its wings and body, and white speckling in places. The wings are barred and slightly elliptical in shape. The tail is long and narrow and is rarely fanned. It has four distinctive gray bars on the tail. A white line above the bird’s eye is also distinctive. The broadness of the wings become apparent during flight, and the tail is usually kept closed.

Though small compared to other eagles, the Black Hawk-Eagle is a powerful predator that frequently hunts relatively large prey. Its diet consists mainly of large rodents, opossums and monkeys, and also bats and birds. In Brazil, this bird is commonly called “Gavião-pega-macaco,” which means “monkey-catching hawk.”

This bird’s breeding behavior is little known other than some details relating to its nest, which is composed of sticks and possibly other materials. The nest is roughly 5 feet in diameter and is usually constructed in tall trees, about 50 feet above ground. Most nests have been observed in pine trees, but it is possible it uses a variety of trees for nesting.

Image Caption: Black Hawk-Eagle in rehabilitaiton, Puerto Iguazu, Argentina. Credit: / Wikipedia (CC Attribution 3.0)