Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Barred Hawk (Morphnarchus princeps)


French: Buse barrée German: Prinzenbussard Spanish: Busardo azoreño
Other common names: Black-chested Hawk

Leucopternis princeps

P. L. Sclater

, 1865,

Costa Rica


Previously placed in Leucopternis, but recent molecular studies indicate that it merits treatment in separate, monotypic genus#R. Populations of Ecuador and Colombia have been separated as race zimmeri on grounds of differences in size, but this unsubstantiated. Monotypic.


Costa Rica and Panama, and locally into W Colombia and W Ecuador on both sides of Andes (recorded also in coastal ranges of Ecuador); reported (maybe local) on E slope of Andes in NW Peru. Sight record of presumed vagrant in extreme S Nicaragua on 15 Nov 2005#R.

Descriptive notes

51–57 cm; c. 1000 g; wingspan 112–124 cm. Robust forest hawk, black above and on throat and upper breast; feathers of crown, nape and mantle edged bluish-slate;... read more


Most often heard call is a loud mellow whistle "wheeeuuuu" given at intervals. Also a fast series... read more


Humid montane forests, from foothills up to subtropical zone; rare in coastal plains of Colombia.... read more

Food and feeding

Little published information. Prey delivered to one nest in Ecuador included 50 caecilians (Caecilia orientalis), 36 snakes (... read more


First nest known to science, found in SE Panama on 25 Feb 2002, located beneath a rocky, vegetated overhang on a narrow ledge of a rock... read more


Presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Too little known to permit accurate assessment of status, but propensity to use forest edge suggests it is not a species of... read more

Recommended citation

Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Boesman, P. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Barred Hawk (Morphnarchus princeps). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 May 2019).