Often placed in monotypic genus Heterospizias, on basis mainly of longer legs and wings; recent molecular studies, however, indicate that placement within Buteogallus is appropriate#R#R#R. Population of Paraguay, SE Brazil and Argentina has been awarded separate race, rufulus, but differs only in size (which varies clinally), and generally not considered valid; Argentine birds have alternatively been placed in equally dubious race australis, which not only larger (and with much greater size difference between sexes) but also has darker back and more extensive rufous in plumage#R, and possibly worthy of recognition. Treated as monotypic.
Panama (from Chiriquí, in W), tropical South America W of Andes (SW Ecuador and NW Peru), and N Colombia E to Venezuela, Trinidad and the Guianas, and S through much of Brazil, E Bolivia and Paraguay to N Argentina (Tucumán, Córdoba and Santa Fe) and N Uruguay; has probably colonized Costa Rica (recently recorded in SW#R).
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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