Common Black Hawk

Beautiful Birds of Belize Blog – Post #21

By Jim Gain


  • Scientific Name: Buteogallus anthracinus
  • Name in Spanish (Mexico): Aguililla Negra Menor
  • Name in Mayan: Sak nej ch’úuy
  • ABA 4-Letter Bird Code: COBH
  • Family: Accipitridae – Hawks, Eagles & Kites
  • Order: Accipitriformes – Diurnal Birds of Prey
Common Black Hawk Image © Jim Gain

About this Species

The Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus) is a large bird of prey found throughout Central and South America, including Belize. Adults have a blackish plumage with a slightly paler head and neck, and yellow legs. They have a wingspan of about 120 cm (47″) and weigh around 900 grams (2 lbs.).

Common Black Hawk Image © Jim Gain

In Belize, the Common Black Hawk inhabits riparian forests and mangrove swamps along the coast, but they can also be found in forested areas inland. They are a common sight around rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water, where they hunt for fish, crabs, and other aquatic prey.

Common Black Hawk Image © Jim Gain

These birds are typically solitary, and pairs maintain a territory of up to several kilometers in size. During the breeding season, which runs from February to June, they build nests of sticks and twigs in tall trees near water. Females lay one to two eggs, which both parents incubate for around 40 days. The chicks fledge at around 50-60 days old and stay with their parents for several months after that.

Common Black Hawk Immature Image © Jim Gain

Common Black Hawks are powerful and agile flyers, capable of capturing prey on the wing or diving into the water to catch fish. They are also known for their distinctive calls, which are a series of high-pitched whistles and screams. While they are not considered threatened, the destruction of their natural habitats through deforestation and development can affect their populations.

>> Next Post on Tuesday, 5/9/2023 – Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Previous posts from Beautiful Birds of Belize Blog

One thought on “Common Black Hawk”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.