Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)


French: Buse à queue barrée German: Mohrenbussard Spanish: Busardo aura

Buteo albonotatus


, 1847,



Populations from E Panama and South America sometimes awarded separate race, abbreviatus, on basis of smaller size, but not generally accepted. Monotypic.


Range disjunct or incompletely known. S USA (Arizona to Texas) and adjacent NW & N Mexico (Baja California; Sonora to Nuevo León) S through Central America (maybe only locally as breeder) to Panama, including Pearl Is. In South America, distribution nearly encircles Amazon Basin: Ecuador; Peru; Colombia (Santa Marta Mts to Magdalena, E of Andes from Meta to Amazonas) E through N & SE Venezuela to the Guianas and Trinidad; N, E & SE Brazil (Amazon Delta and I de Marajó S & E through Ceará, Pernambuco, Alagoas and Bahia to Paraná) W through Paraguay to N & E Bolivia (Beni, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz).

Descriptive notes

46–56 cm; male 607–667 g, female 845–937 g; wingspan 117–140 cm. Uniform black or brownish black; relatively long blackish tail narrowly tipped white... read more


Typical calls are a drawn-out squealing "kreeeee" or "kreee-arrr". During... read more


A habitat generalist, in tropical and subtropical lowlands, including savanna and scrub, ... read more

Food and feeding

Prey includes small mammals, birds (both adults and nestlings) and lizards (particulary in SW USA). Also said to take frogs and fish, but... read more


Laying from late Mar–Jun in USA and N Mexico (but mostly before mid-May); Feb–Mar in Trinidad; incubation in Aug in Colombia;... read more


Northernmost birds mostly migratory, but some individuals overwinter at N limit of range. In Panama... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Rather patchy distribution, but widespread and locally common, with global population estimate of c. 2,000,000 individuals... read more

Recommended citation

Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Kirwan, G.M. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus). 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).