Species Spotlight: Black-collared Hawk

Black-collared Hawk © Kevin Loughlin

Black-collared Hawk © Kevin Loughlin

 

One of my favorite raptors, the Black-collared Hawk (Busarellus nigricollis) is found in wetlands from southern Mexico south through the Amazon and all the way to the Pantanal of Brazil. Though widespread, populations can be very local throughout the Amazon and its tributaries.

 

Black-collared Hawk © Kevin Loughlin

Black-collared Hawk © Kevin Loughlin

 

A lazy fisherman, Black-collared Hawks perch low over shallow water and wait, patiently, for something to swim or crawl under them, at which time they drop down to grab it. Fish are a favorite, however, lizards and rodents are also on the menu.

 

Black-collared Hawk © Kevin Loughlin

Black-collared Hawk © Kevin Loughlin

 

Their beautiful, rufous coloration is quickly recognized, as is their silhouette of broad wings and short tail. Named for the black patch on its throat, it has a pale head and black primaries and secondaries.

 

Savanna Hawk © Kevin Loughlin

Savanna Hawk © Kevin Loughlin

 

Another rufous species, the Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis), might be confused from a distance, but lacks the black collar and is found in drier, open habitats, as its name would suggest.

Black-collared Hawks may be seen on many of our trips. Especially common on our Belize and Amazon Riverboat tours. The Savanna Hawk would be most common on our Trinidad tour, but may also be seen in Panama’s Darien and in Costa Rica.

—Kevin Loughlin

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