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Savanna Hawk - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Bjorn Svensson
Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil, October 2004

Alternative name Savannah Hawk

Buteogallus meridionalis

Heterospizias meridionalis


46–64 cm (18-25¼ in); Long, broad wings and a short tail

  • Cinnamon-rufous
  • Mottled upper-parts
  • Banding on under-parts
  • Long yellow legs
  • Iris: reddish-yellow to pale brown
  • Yellow cere


Adult with juvenile on right
Photo © by Orozimbo
Lins, SP, Brazil, February 2018

Panama and in South America from Colombia, Trinidad and Venezuela south to Uruguay and central Argentina.

Vagrant in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Resident.


This is a monotypic species1.

It was formerly placed in the genus Heterospizias2.


Open country, forest edge, lakesides and swampy savanna. Usually observed up to 1000 m, sometimes higher.


They build the nest of sticks lined with grass in a palm tree. They lay a single white egg; the young fledge after 6 - 7 weeks.


Photo © by Rogerio Araújo Dias
Sto. Antonio do Descoberto, Goiás, Brazil

A varied diet consisting of large insects, crabs, lizards, snakes and small mammals. They can hunt on foot, but will also swoop down on their prey from a high perch.

Several birds may gather to hunt after grass fires.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Feb 2018)
  4. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links