RAPTORS of South America

Raptors are carnivorous. They hunt by sight during the day, are long lived, and have low reproductive rates. The catch their prey via strong claws three pointing forward and one pointing backward. The raptors that hunt by day are: hawks, eagle, buzzards, harriers, kites, vultures, falcons, caracaras. Owls hunt by night. Raptors are also called birds of prey.


Order Accipitriformes    Family Accipitridae

The order Accipitriformes contains the diurnal (active during the day) birds of prey: hawks, goshawks, eagles, kites, vultures, ospreys, secretary birds. These birds have sometimes been considered part of the Falconiformes which contains the falcons, but DNA evidence indicates the orders should be separate.

The Accipitridae family contains the hawks, goshawks, eagles, kites, Old World vultures. It is a family of small to large birds, all with strongly hooked bill. They are found on all continents except Antactica.

This page contains birds that have "eagle" as part of their name. The term eagle is not a precise scientific name; what one person considers to be an eagle another may consider to be a hawk. In fact, the "solitary eagles" are place by most people in genus Buteogallus.  That genus also contains species termed "hawks". This has lead to the Buteogallus genus being split over two webpage; this one for eagles and another for hawks.

Genus Buteogallus
The Crowned Solitary Eagle and Black Solitary Eagle are closely related and have sometimes been put into their own genus Harpyhaliaetus. Smaller members of Buteogallus are commonly called hawks and are shown elsewhere. The solitary eagles tend to eat reptiles and the smaller "hawks" tend to eat crustaceans.

Eagle, Crowned Solitary  also   Crowned Eagle  Buteogallus coronatus  Found: South America
The Crowned Solitary Eagle has gray plumage including a gray crest; short black-and-white banded tail with white tip. It is owl-like in that it is crepuscular. It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay.
Image by: 1) Mateus Hidalgo  2, 3) Nori Almeida

Eagle, Black Solitary  also  Solitary Eagle  Buteogallus solitarius  Found: Mexico, Central America, South America
The Black Solitary Eagle has blackish plumage; white-tipped black tail with white band.
Similar to: Common Black Hawk. The Black Solitary Eagle is much larger and has broader wings than the Common Black Hawk.
Image by: 1) Tom Friedel  2) Sally Taylor - Ecuador

Genus Harpia - 1 species

Eagle, Harpy  Harpia harpyja   Found: Mexico, Central America, South America
The Harpy Eagle has slate-black upperparts, upper-breast; gray head with a double crest; white lower-breast, belly; blackish bill, cere. The Harpy Eagle is the largest eagle in the Americas.
Similar to: Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. Harpy Eagle is much larger than Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle has yellow bill; Harpy Eagle has blackish bill.
Image by: 1) Tom Friedel  2) Charlie Westerinen - Miami Zoo  3) Dick Daniels - Jacksonville Zoo

Genus Spizaetus

New World Hawk-eagles. They are forest birds with several species having a preference for highland woodlands. They build stick nests in trees. The sexes are similarly plumaged with typical raptor brown upperparts and pale underparts, but young birds are distinguishable from adults, often by a whiter head.

Eagle, Black Hawk-  Spizaetus tyrannus  Found: Mexico, Central America, South America
The Black Hawk-Eagle has black plumage with some white speckling; black-and-white barred wings, tail.
Image by: 1) Tom Friedel - Argentina  2) Mark Watson  - Mexico  3) Dave Wendelken - Panama  4) Jerry Oldenettel - Venezuela

Eagle, Black-and-white Hawk-  Spizaetus melanoleucus  Found: Mexico, Central America, South America
The Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle has black upperparts; white head, neck, underparts; yellow eye-ring surrounded by black; black bill with yellow cere; yellow iris, feet; black-and-white tail with white tip.
Image by: 1)  Magalie L'Abbé   2, 3) Mateus Hidalgo   4) Carol Foil - Peru

Eagle, Black-and-chestnut   Spizaetus isidori  Found: South America
The Black-and-chestnut Eagle has black upperparts, head, neck; pointed crest; chestnut underparts with some fine black streaks; yellow eyes.
Image by: 1) Marc Athanase Parfait  2) Tom Friedel

Eagle, Ornate Hawk-  Spizaetus ornatus  Found: Mexico, Central America, South America
The Ornate Eagle-Hawk has blackish upperparts, crown, crest; chestnut nape, sides of neck; white throat; black-edged white central-breast; rest of underparts white with black barring; white under-tail with three dark bars and a white tip. Juvenile has white head, neck; white underparts with little barring.
Image by: 1) Mdf - Panama Juan  2) Nathan Rupert - San Diego Zoo  3) Mateus Hidalgo 
1) Juvenile


Order Accipitriformes  (disputed)     Family Pandionidae   - 1 genus

Genus Pandion - 1 species

Osprey Pandion haliaetus   Found: all continents except Antarctica
The Osprey is the only species in its genus and the only member of its family. And it is a matter of dispute if it belongs with the eagle's order of the falcon's order. The appearance is unique enough so it is easy to identify.
Image by:  1) Dick Daniels - Florida 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) Dick - North Carolina  7) Charlie Westerinen - California  8) Cristiano Crolle - Angera, Italy

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