Black-and-chestnut Eagle Spizaetus isidori Scientific name definitions

Tomás Rivas-Fuenzalida, Juan M. Grande, Sebastián Kohn, Felix Hernán Vargas, and Santiago Zuluaga Castañeda
Version: 2.0 — Published November 23, 2022



The Black-and-chestnut Eagle prefers middle- to high-elevation montane forests, usually from 1,300–3,000 m, and occasionally lower to sea level, or higher at up to 3,500 m (38, 39, 3). It is mainly associated with old-growth primary forests, but also visits or even nests in secondary forests surrounded by primary forests, but in such cases it uses large emergent trees (27, 37, 40, 41 , TRF, unpublished data). It hunts mainly in mature forests, occasionally in open land, as well as in the ecotone between them.


It is found in tropical and subtropical zones, in mesophilic forest with great ecological breadth, and occupying three elevational bands from 400 to 3,000 m; it has also been recorded in the paramo above 3,500 m (42).


It mainly occurs on the foothills and slopes of the three mountain ranges of the Andes (eastern, central, and western) and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in cloud forests between 1,500–3,000 m (24).


It occurs in premontane and montane forest in both slopes of the Andes, and montane forests of the inter-Andean valley, inter-Andean scrub, and páramo (26), usually between 1,500–2,800 m, although it can occur up to 3,500 m.


It is found in humid montane forest of the eastern Andean slope, from 1,000–3,200 m, occasionally 800–3,500 m (27, 29, Rivas-Fuenzalida et al., unpublished data).


It is found in contiguous, intact, semi-humid to wet montane forest from 900–3,000 m, occasionally 550–3,400 m (30, D. Méndez, personal communication).


It occurs in yungas or subtropical montane forests at altitudes ranging from 500–2,000 m. It is also recorded at higher elevations in montane grasslands or puna in the high Andes up to 3,400 m. (43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 33, 32).

Habitat in Breeding Range

Nests have only been reported between 1,300 and 2,900 m, mainly in old-growth montane forest, occasionally in emergent mature trees surrounded by secondary forest (resulting from previous human-made deforestation), and many of them relatively close to human-modified areas (14, 48, 40, 37, 49, TRF, unpublished data). Lehmann (14) indicated that some collected individuals came from a variety of habitats and elevational ranges from Venezuela and Colombia, and speculated that they were traveling between hunting areas. Juvenile eagles made their natal dispersal through fragmented landscapes, and they consistently selected areas with greater remaining forest cover, at mid elevations, and with steeper slopes than the mean available in the landscape (50).

Recommended Citation

Rivas-Fuenzalida, T., J. M. Grande, S. Kohn, F. H. Vargas, and S. Zuluaga Castañeda (2022). Black-and-chestnut Eagle (Spizaetus isidori), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.baceag2.02