Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Near Threatened

Ornate Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus ornatus)


French: Aigle orné German: Prachtadler Spanish: Águila galana

Falco ornatus


, 1800,



DNA studies indicate that this species and S. isidori are sisters, and that S. melanoleucus is sister to this pair#R#R#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. o. vicarius Friedmann, 1935 – S Mexico (mainly on Caribbean side) through Central America to W Colombia and W Ecuador, and extreme NW Peru (Tumbes)#R.
  • S. o. ornatus (Daudin, 1800) – E Colombia E to Venezuela, Trinidad and the Guianas, and S through E Ecuador, E Peru, Bolivia and NW & NE Argentina (Jujuy, N Salta, Misiones), E Paraguay and S & SE Brazil.
  • Descriptive notes

    58–67 cm; male 906–1132 g, female 1200–1738 g; wingspan 105–120 cm. A large, powerful, strikingly coloured hawk eagle: black crown and occipital crest... read more


    Most frequently heard vocalization, often in flight, a series of some 4–8 loud, melodious whistles... read more


    Humid forest in tropical and subtropical zones, in Colombia usually up to 1200 m, but occasionally... read more

    Food and feeding

    A powerful raptor that mainly hunts large prey: especially birds, including macaws, parrots, toucans, pigeons, oropendolas, owls,... read more


    In Petén (Guatemala), rather extended season, with laying in Nov–May, mainly Jan–Apr (dry season), hatching in Dec... read more


    Sedentary, with home ranges (based on work in Guatemala) estimated at 10–19 km² for... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Near Threatened. CITES II. Conspicuous throughout its range, because of its use of traditional emergent nest trees, its habit of soaring, and easily-... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Kirwan, G.M., Boesman, P. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Ornate Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus ornatus). 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).