Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Near Threatened

Black Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus solitarius)


French: Buse solitaire German: Einsiedleradler Spanish: Águila solitaria
Other common names: Solitary Eagle, Montane Solitary Eagle

Circaëtus solitarius


, 1844,

Río Chanchamayo, Junín, Peru


Previously placed in genus Harpyhaliaetus, but molecular studies indicate that present species is part of a clade containing three other dry-habitat members of Buteogallus (see B. urubitinga). Genetic data show that it is sister to B. coronatus#R#R, with which formerly considered conspecific. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. s. sheffleri (van Rossem, 1948) – W Mexico (from Sonora) S locally in highlands to Costa Rica and possibly Panama.
  • B. s. solitarius (Tschudi, 1844) – locally from N Colombia (Santa Marta Mts) and N & S Venezuela, WC Guyana#R and French Guiana#R, and S through humid Andes from Colombia to extreme NW Argentina (Jujuy and Salta).
  • Descriptive notes

    65–75 cm; 3000 g; wingspan 157–180 cm. Wings long and broad. All dark slate-grey; short crest tends to be inconspicuous; rather short tail has bold white median... read more


    In flight, gives fast series of piercing short whistles, e.g. “pipipipipi...”, or slower “weet weet... read more


    Humid forested mountain slopes, including tropical and subtropical premontane and humid montane... read more

    Food and feeding

    Very few data. Diet mostly snakes; one chachalaca (Ortalis) in a nest in Mexico (Sonora). In study at a nest area in Belize, prey-... read more


    Very poorly known. Nest probably not yet with egg in mid Nov in E Peru; young in nest in May–Jun in Mexico; fledged young observed in... read more


    Presumably sedentary, but occasional reports in South America well away from main Andean range... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Has moderately small population, which likely in decline as a result of habitat loss and hunting. Rare and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Christie, D.A., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Black Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus solitarius). 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 24 January 2020).