Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Black Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus)


French: Aigle tyran German: Tyrannenadler Spanish: Águila negra

Falco tyrannus


, 1820,

Bahia, Brazil


DNA studies indicate that this species occupies a basal position within the genus#R#R#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. t. serus Friedmann, 1950 – C Mexico (San Luis Potosí, Veracruz) S through Central America to Colombia, thence E of Andes E to Venezuela, Trinidad and the Guianas, and S to E Peru, Bolivia (E to Santa Cruz) and N & C Brazil; also W of Andes in W Ecuador and extreme NW Peru (Tumbes).
  • S. t. tyrannus (Wied, 1820) – E & S Brazil, E Paraguay#R and extreme NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    58–71 cm; male 875–955 g, female 1090–1150 g; wingspan 115–148 cm. Glossy black overall; rather bushy occipital crest has feathers basally white; very... read more


    Male frequently calls in flight, variously “whit, whit whit wheeeeeer” or “whut,... read more


    Tropical forests, generally in lowlands, but up to 2000 m, and even to 3000 m in Guatemala. Has... read more

    Food and feeding

    Birds to size of chachalacas (Ortalis), mammals (reportedly to size of Brown Capuchin Cebus apella monkey and also takes... read more


    In Panama, chicks recorded in Feb, feathered young in Jul, fledglings in Aug; in Guatemala, laying dates estimated to be late Jan to early... read more


    Apparently sedentary, although local dispersal recorded and is a vagrant to Trinidad; some records... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Fairly common in suitable habitat, but not in areas that have been heavily disturbed by agriculture and deforestation is... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus). 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 27 February 2020).