Black-and-white hawk-eagle Facts
- The distinctive name of the Black-and-white hawk-eagle serves as the common name of a visually remarkable avian species. This magnificent bird also bears the somewhat cumbersome scientific name of the Spizaetus melanoleucus, however.
- The noted French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot holds the distinction of many firsts. Among these is the fact that he represented the first scientist to officially describe the species. This fortuitous action further occurred in the year 1816.
- Unfortunately, despite its numbers and range, a sad fact remains. In point of fact, researchers still know very little about certain aspects of the life of this bird. This lack of information holds especially true in regards to its breeding habits.
- The visually striking creature also represents a source of some confusion in scientific circles. This holds true due to a most uncommon set of circumstances. That consists of the fact that it has been moved from one genus to another several times.
- For the moment, the IUCN lists the Black-and-white hawk-eagle as Least Concern. This listing appears in its Red List of Threatened Species. That status, though, could easily change in the near future, as conditions appear to be changing rapidly.
- For one thing, its population numbers currently appear to be diminishing. This situation also lamentably extends throughout the entirety its natural range. Not surprisingly, the effects of ongoing climate change likely form its greatest threat.
Black-and-white hawk-eagle Physical Description
The gorgeous Black-and-white hawk-eagle merits attention for more than just its size. In point of fact, the bird ranks as an average-sized raptor. Like many related species, this animal displays a moderate degree of the physiological trait of sexual dimorphism.
In the case of this particular creature, this characteristic manifests itself in the fact that some females attain a slightly larger average weight. The species as a whole develops respectable measurements. Adults reach an average body length of about 20 – 24 in (50 – 60 cm).
A typical wingspan for both genders, furthermore, equates to roughly 46 in (117 cm). Weight, though, remains where the genders differ slightly, overall averages remain approximately equal. To be precise, a typical weight equals roughly 1.88 lb (0.85 kg).
In terms of appearance, however, no gender-based differences appear. In point of fact, both sexes of the remarkable Black-and-white hawk-eagle remain virtually indistinguishable. As the common name suggests, the basic color scheme appears as black and white.
This pattern of colors, meanwhile, generally presents itself with the body, neck, and head being white in color. The wings of the magnificent bird display a dark black, along with a lone black spot on the top of the head. But the tail shows brown with dark gray.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Accipitriformes
- Family: Accipitridae
- Genus: Spizaetus
- Species: S. melanoleucus
Black-and-white hawk-eagle Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Despite not being widely known, the sincerely extraordinary Black-and-white hawk-eagle inhabits a fairly broad swathe of the world. That holds true due to the fact that the remarkable animal inhabits portions of both North America and South America.
Impressively, that native territory does not simply entail minor regions of the two continents. More precisely, the fascinating bird appears as far north as southern Mexico. However, its known endemic range also extends as far south as the country of Argentina.
Within this wide range, though, it possesses highly specific requirements. That holds true since it only inhabits specific habitat types. These consist of lowland forests of any type. While it does inhabit highly humid and dense forests if it must, these are not preferred.
The physically impressive bird has even more decidedly precise preferences for where it makes its home. It only inhabits such regions that appear at lower altitudes, unless forced to relocate there. This marvel of Nature also prefers regions with close-packed canopies.
Like other raptors, the stunning Black-and-white hawk-eagle evolved to feed exclusively as a carnivore. Although it hunts opportunistically, it does, like most animals, have preferred prey. These primarily consist of various toads, small mammals, and lizards.
One more unusual factor about its nature remains, though. To the surprise of many researchers, a large percentage of its diet also consists of various types of small birds. Although certain animals prey on its young in the nest, adults have few natural predators.