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Black-and-chestnut Eagle Spizaetus isidori Scientific name definitions

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

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Introduction

The Black-and-chestnut Eagle is the top avian predator of the Andean Tropical and Subtropical Montane Forests of South America. Among the dense clouds of the steep mountains, this large raptor has captured the imagination of prehispanic civilizations, rural communities, raptor specialists, and birdwatchers due to its imposing appearance and majesty. It is recognized by its large size (63–77 cm length, 147–172 cm wingspan, and up to 3,500 g weight), as well as its distinct plumage pattern.

In flight, it has a rounded silhouette, with long wings and tail, blackish coloration above, and chestnut below, with whitish-gray flight feathers in the ventral view in the case of adults. Juveniles are almost totally white below and gray-brown above, with dark gray barred flight feathers. Like other related eagles, it has a notable large crest of feathers on its head, feathered tarsi, and striking yellow eyes.

This powerful raptor has evolved to live in humid montane forests, being nearly endemic to the Andes, from western Venezuela (10° N) to northwestern Argentina (28° S), but also inhabiting the mountains of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia and the Coastal Mountain Range in northern Venezuela (10 °N). Its diet is based mainly on medium-sized birds, such as guans and pigeons, and arboreal and terrestrial mammals, including different species of opossums, monkeys, and coatimundis, among others. Its habit of hunting poultry makes this species the target of strong persecution by humans. This, together with habitat loss, are the main threats to its conservation.

Distribution of the Black-and-chestnut Eagle - Range Map
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  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Black-and-chestnut Eagle

Recommended Citation

Rivas-Fuenzalida, T. R., J. Manuel 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