Common Black-HawkButeogallus anthracinus

adult
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
juvenile
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult
Brian K. Wheeler/VIREO
juvenile
Greg Lasley/VIREO
juvenile
Sam Fried/VIREO
juvenile
Brian K. Wheeler/VIREO
adult
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
Common Black-Hawk

Description

20-23" (51-58 cm). A stocky black bird of prey with broad wings and a broad white band across the tail; cere and legs yellow, latter visible in flight. When soaring, holds its wings flat and somewhat resembles Black Vulture; light spot visible on underwing at base of primaries. Immatures similar in size and shape but dark brown with tawny barring above, pale buff with streaks below, tail dark with several pale bands.

Voice

Shrill whistled screams.

Listen

calls #1
calls #2

Habitat

Wooded canyons and riverside woodlands.

Range

Breeds from southernmost Utah south through Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, and in southwestern Texas. Most winter south of United States. Also in American tropics.

Discussion

These sluggish birds feed mainly on aquatic creatures such as frogs, small fish, crabs, and crayfish. They often perch for long periods on a branch over water, waiting for their prey to appear. This species is vulnerable to disturbance near its nesting sites and seems to be declining in the United States.

Nesting

1 or 2 white eggs, lightly spotted with brown, in a bulky nest of sticks lined with green leaves and grass.

Similar Species

adult

Zone-tailed Hawk

18 1/2 -21 1/2" (47-55 cm). W. 4' (1.2 m). A mainly black hawk with long narrow wings held in a shallow V like those of a Turkey Vulture. Adults have 3 or 4 pale bands in tail.

adult

Black Vulture

22-24" (56-61 cm). W. 4'6" (1.4 m). Black, with white patch near each wing tip, conspicuous in flight; head bare, grayish; feet extend beyond the short tail.

adult

Harris's Hawk

18-23" (46-76 cm). W. 3' 7" (1.1 m). A black, crow-sized hawk with chestnut shoulders and thighs, white on rump and base of tail, and white tail tip. Immatures similar but more streaked.

Vireo

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