Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Crane Hawk (Geranospiza caerulescens)


French: Buse échasse German: Sperberweih Spanish: Azor zancón

Sparvius caerulescens


, 1817,



Substantial geographic variation, with three well-defined groups, each perhaps approaching separate species status: nigra group (with races livens and balzarensis), single-taxon caerulescens group, and gracilis group (including race flexipes); extensive intergradation, however, between nigra group and caerulescens. At other extreme, some authorities accept only two or three races. Six subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. c. livens Bangs & T. E. Penard, 1921 – NW Mexico (Sonora and N Sinaloa).
  • G. c. nigra (Du Bus de Gisignies, 1847) – Blackish Crane-hawk – N Mexico (S Sinaloa and S Tamaulipas) S to C Panama (Canal Zone).
  • G. c. balzarensis W. L. Sclater, 1918 – Panama (E of Canal Zone) E on Pacific slope to W Colombia, W Ecuador and NW Peru (Lambayeque).
  • G. c. caerulescens (Vieillot, 1817) – Grey Crane-hawk – N & E Colombia and E Ecuador E to Venezuela, the Guianas and Amazonian Peru and Brazil.
  • G. c. gracilis (Temminck, 1821) – Banded Crane-hawk – NE Brazil from Maranhão, Ceará and Piauí S to C Goiás and Bahia.
  • G. c. flexipes J. L. Peters, 1935 – S Brazil (from Mato Grosso, S Goiás and Minas Gerais) and Bolivia S through Chaco of Paraguay to NC Argentina (S mainly to N Santa Fe and Entre Ríos) and Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    38–54 cm; male 225–358 g, female 273–430 g, male nigra 340–375 g, female nigra 434–519·5 g, male ... read more


    Most commonly heard call used in contact or conspecific recognition, especially in early to mid... read more


    Very adaptable: in lowlands, from dry semi-deciduous forest to rainforest, mangroves, wooded... read more

    Food and feeding

    Very versatile, feeding on rodents (e.g. Tylomys), bats (Vespertilionidae), lizards (Iguanidae and Teiidae), snakes... read more


    Nesting reported Apr–Jul in Mexico; Jan in Panama; Jul in NE Colombia; mostly rainy season Jul–Oct in Venezuela; Apr–Oct... read more


    Thought to be mostly sedentary, but some evidence for nomadism near S end of breeding range in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Generally uncommon, but extensive geographic range and broad habitat tolerance suggest little reason for immediate concern... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Boesman, P., Marks, J.S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Crane Hawk (Geranospiza caerulescens). 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).