Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Near Threatened

Crested Eagle (Morphnus guianensis)


French: Harpie huppée German: Würgadler Spanish: Arpía menor
Other common names: Guiana Crested Eagle

Falco guianensis


, 1800,



Dark-morph variant with heavily banded underparts previously described (from Ecuador) as a separate species, M. taeniatus, and later as race of present species, but has no taxonomic significance. Monotypic.


Central America, sparsely, from extreme SE Mexico (Chiapas and SE Campeche)#R#R, through Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama to Colombia, Venezuela and the Guianas, and S to Bolivia, Paraguay, extreme NE Argentina (Misiones), though very rare or casual visitor in the last two countries, and S Brazil (to at least Santa Catarina and formerly Rio Grande do Sul); W of Andes, ranges S only to Serranía de Baudó (W Colombia), but several sightings in NW Ecuador (Pichincha)#R.

Descriptive notes

71–89 cm; one male 1275 g, female 1750–1948 g; wingspan 138–154 cm. A large, lanky eagle with prominent nuchal ruff and long, black occipital crest;... read more


In general gives shrill, high-pitched whistles, “peeeee”, sometimes two-parted, with second part... read more


Lowland tropical and subtropical forest, including gallery forests in S of range, once at the... read more

Food and feeding

Snakes and lizards, both arboreal and terrestrial and up to c. 2 m in length; small to medium-sized mammals, especially arboreal rodents,... read more


Very few nests discovered, and only one studied in detail. Laying in early Jun in Guatemala, with hatching at another nest in same region... read more


Apparently sedentary, although recent records in São Paulo (SE Brazil) are only in austral... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Formerly red listed in category Rare, but currently considered Near Threatened. Overall range calculated at 9,190,000 km² and... read more

Recommended citation

Bierregaard, R.O., Jr & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Crested Eagle (Morphnus guianensis). 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 February 2020).