Photo by Thorsten Spoerlein

Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus)

Fun Fact

Performs a talon-touching aerial courtship display.

Conservation Status

IUCN Least Concern

Identification

Large hawk, nearly all black with white patch just behind bill. Bill and feet are bright orange-yellow. Tail is black with single, thick white band and thin, white tip. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is brown-streaked with dark brown back, barred underwings, and finely banded tail.

Length

43–53 cm (16–20 in)

Weight

930g on average.

Wingspan

127 cm (50 inches)

Distribution

Found in southwestern U.S., throughout Mexico, Central America, and northern South America to Guyana. Inhabit coastal lowlands of mixed savannah, dunes, ponds, lagoons and grasslands.

Prey

Feeds mainly on crabs, but will also take small vertebrates and eggs. Also feds on snakes, frogs, fish, and young birds; may supplement diet with insects.

Behavior

Often seen soaring, with occasional lazy flaps, and has a talon-touching aerial courtship display.

Breeding

Common Black-Hawk: One to three white eggs, sometimes marked with brown, are laid in nest made of dry sticks and mistletoe. Nest is usually built within 500 feet of permanent flowing water and is typically constructed 60 to 120 feet above the ground. Incubation lasts for 38 to 39 days and is carried out both parents.

Copyright Notice

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Citation

InfoNatura: Animals and Ecosystems of Latin America [web application]. 2007. Version 5.0 . Arlington, Virginia (USA): NatureServe. Available: http://www.natureserve.org/infonatura. (Accessed: October 24, 2012 ).

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