Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

White-tailed Hawk (Geranoaetus albicaudatus)


French: Buse à queue blanche German: Weißschwanzbussard Spanish: Busardo coliblanco

Buteo albicaudatus


, 1816,

South America = Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Recent genetic data indicate this species most closely related to G. polyosoma#R#R, which it may replace at lower elevations. Formerly placed in Buteo and thought, mistakenly, to be closest to B. galapagoensis (which see). Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. a. hypospodius (Gurney, Sr, 1876) – SC USA (S Texas) and N Mexico (from Sonora and Tamaulipas) S discontinuously to N & C Colombia and NW Venezuela.
  • G. a. colonus (Berlepsch, 1892) – E Colombia E to Suriname (absent NW Venezuela), and S to Amazon, E from at least Manaus to Atlantic coast; W Leeward Antilles (Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire); rare visitor to Trinidad.
  • G. a. albicaudatus (Vieillot, 1816) – extreme SE Peru (Pampas del Heath) and E & S Brazil (S from Mato Grosso and SE Pará) through N & E Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay to N & C Argentina (S to Río Negro).
  • Descriptive notes

    44–60 cm; 744–1235 g; wingspan 118–143 cm. Stocky, long-winged, long-legged polymorphic hawk, with pale and dark morphs in all three subspecies. Pale morph... read more


    Typical alarm or territorial call a series of notes that vary by sex: “aaaa, ke-HAK, ke-HAK, ke-HAK... read more


    Tropical to subtropical zones in semi-arid grassland, prairie and other open country, but also... read more

    Food and feeding

    Broad range of small vertebrates and invertebrates, including snakes, lizards, young rabbits and hares (Sylvilagus and Lepus... read more


    Most data from N edge of range in Texas, S USA. Eggs in nest from Jan–Aug in Texas (late nests probably replacement clutches), with... read more


    Poorly known. Presumably sedentary over most of range. Northernmost birds are not migratory in that... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern), although listed as State threatened in Texas, USA. CITES II. Extensive range; apparently on increase as result of deforestation.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr & Marks, J.S. (2020). White-tailed Hawk (Geranoaetus albicaudatus). 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).