Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis)


French: Buse roussâtre German: Savannenbussard Spanish: Busardo sabanero

Falco meridionalis


, 1790,



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).

Descriptive notes

46–64 cm; 740–1134 g; wingspan 121–140 cm. Lanky hawk with small head, longish neck and legs, and rather long wings. Head, neck and underparts rufous to... read more


Principal vocalization “kree-ee-ee-er” terminates in a wail and may be given either on... read more


Tropical to subtropical zones, mainly up to 1000 m but exceptionally to 2075 m in Colombia,... read more

Food and feeding

Opportunistic, taking wide range of small mammals, birds, crabs, frogs, toads, lizards, snakes, spiders and large insects. In rainy season... read more


Lengthy breeding season, with laying Feb–Sept (wet season) in Venezuela (but mainly Jun–Aug), Feb–Jun in Colombia and on... read more


Resident over most of range, with high degree of territory fidelity; apparently migratory in S,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Has only recently (since 2008) spread to SW Costa Rica as a result of ongoing deforestation; first nesting record in 2014.... read more

Recommended citation

Bierregaard, R.O., Jr & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis). 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).