Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga)


French: Buse urubu German: Schwarzbussard Spanish: Busardo urubitinga

Falco urubitinga

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

north-eastern Brazil


Recent molecular studies indicate that present species is part of a clade which contains also B. lacernulatus, B. solitarius and B. coronatus (last two previously placed in Harpyhaliaetus)#R#R. Subspecies rather distinctive, and sometimes considered separate species, but intermediate individuals occur in E Panama#R#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. u. ridgwayi (Gurney, Sr, 1884) – Ridgway's Black Hawk – Mexico (from S Sonora and S Tamaulipas) S to Panama.
  • B. u. urubitinga (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – Great Black Hawk – NE Panama and South America W of Andes in SW Ecuador and NE Peru (Piura), and E of Andes from N & E Colombia and NE Ecuador E to Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago and the Guianas, and S through Brazil, E Peru and E Bolivia to Paraguay, N Argentina (Tucumán, Santiago del Estero, Santa Fe and Entre Ríos) and Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    51–64 cm; male 1201–1481 g (nominate), male 652–1306 g, female 625–1400 g (ridgwayi). Dull black overall; tail white with broad black... read more


    Most frequently heard call a long drawn-out somewhat hoarse whistle, basically monotonous but... read more


    Broad range of habitats from tropical to lower subtropical zones, from dry Chaco to rainforest (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Rodents, birds, fish, land crabs, amphibians and carrion (has been observed feeding with vultures and caracaras); also fruit (Spondias... read more


    Most nests reported in rainy season; mid Feb–Apr in Panama; Aug in Venezuela; Apr and May on Trinidad; Jun in Surinam; Aug–Jan... read more


    Primarily sedentary; individuals of N race may wander into Chocó of Colombia.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Very widely distributed and adapts well to man-modified habitats; no reason for concern at present, despite that... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga). 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).