Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

White Hawk (Pseudastur albicollis)


French: Buse blanche German: Schneebussard Spanish: Busardo blanco

Falco albicollis


, 1790,



Traditionally considered to form a species-group with P. occidentalis and P. polionotus, both of which have been considered races of present species (see P. occidentalis). If genus incorporated within Buteo, subspecific name costaricensis becomes preoccupied, in which case new name delhoyoi proposed#R. Races distinctive, each differing from the others in distribution and amount of black and white in wing and tail. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. a. ghiesbreghti (Du Bus de Gisignies, 1845) – Mexican White Hawk – S Mexico (Oaxaca and Veracruz) to Guatemala, Belize, NW Honduras and W El Salvador.
  • P. a. costaricensis (W. L. Sclater, 1919) – Costa Rican White Hawk – N Honduras to Panama and W Colombia (Chocó, Valle).
  • P. a. williaminae (Meyer de Schauensee, 1950) – Colombian White Hawk – N Colombia (upper Sinú and lower Magdalena Valleys S to Valle) and extreme NW Venezuela (Perijá).
  • P. a. albicollis (Latham, 1790) – Amazonian White Hawk – N Venezuela (Coastal Range), Trinidad, S & E Venezuela and the Guianas through Amazonia to E Colombia, E Peru, E Ecuador, N & E Bolivia (La Paz, Santa Cruz) and Brazil (E to Mato Grosso and N Maranhão).
  • Descriptive notes

    47–51 cm; male 592–670 g, female 695–855 g; wingspan 98–117 cm. Remarkable variation in plumage between subspecies: ranges from almost entirely... read more


    Commonest vocalization is a loud harsh, buzzy scream “sheeeer”, and all recorded calls... read more


    Mature, tropical and occasionally subtropical rainforest, up to 1400 m in Colombia, Panama and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Reptiles (many snakes but also lizards), amphisbaenids, caecilians, amphibians, small mammals (mice, rats and small opossums), large... read more


    In Petén, Guatemala, courtship begins in Feb and nestbuilding from early Feb to late Mar, with eggs laid in mid to late Mar (middle... read more


    Sedentary. Breeding adult males used home ranges of 264 ha (mean) in Guatemala, but up to 450 ha in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. In no apparent danger: one of the commonest and most conspicuous forest raptors, occurring over a vast range; has been... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). White Hawk (Pseudastur albicollis). 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 25 February 2020).