Barred Hawk (Leucopternis princeps)

Barred Hawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Leucopternis princeps | [authority] Sclater, 1865 | [UK] Barred Hawk | [FR] Buse barree | [DE] Prinzenbussard | [ES] Busardo Azoreno | [NL] Sclaters Buizerd


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Leucopternis princeps LA Costa Rica to n Ecuador


Members of the genus Leucopternis are small to medium-sized buteonine hawks with short and rounded wings and a moderate length tail. In some species the sides of the head are partly bare of feathers and brightly coloured, as are the legs. P1umage pattern is quite simple; immatures are similar to adults. This large genus is placed between Buteo and Buteogallus, and contains ten species, all tropical American.

Physical charateristics

The Barred Hawk is one of the most distinctive members of the Neotropical genus Leucopternis. This species is entirely black above with a black chest, and fine black and white barring on the underparts and underwing coverts.

Listen to the sound of Barred Hawk

[audio: Hawk.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 55 cm size max.: 59 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


Latin America : Costa Rica to North Ecuador. is resident in montane forests and foothills up to the subtropical zone from Costa Rica south to northern Peru.


Occurs in mostly at middle elevations, sometimes descending to lowlands. Usually found inside canopy, or along the edges of mountane or cloud forests. Solitary individuals or small groups up to three or four birds often soar in the morning, vocalizing loudly.


Nests recently described from Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador. All were platforms made of sticks and lined with leaves and placed in niches on rocky cliffs. Fresh leafy twigs are added to the nest during the course of incubation and brooding. Clutch size is 1 unmarked, dull white egg. One adult, probably the female, does most of the incubation and brooding, and the other adult brings food to the nest. At the nest in Ecuador, the nestling period was ca. 80 days.

Feeding habits

Feeds mostly on snakes, but also takes frogs, large insects, crabs, caecilians, earthworms, and occasionally small mammals and birds, including nestlings. Perches at low or medium heights and makes stoops to the ground or to low vegetation to capture mostly slow-moving prey

Video Barred Hawk


copyright: Juan Sanabria


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Phillip L. Schlater first classified the Barred Hawk in 1865. Barred Hawks are in the family Accipitridae that contains all the hawks, eagles, and old world vultures. The genus, Leucopternis, means Neotropical (biogeographic region of the new world that stretches southward from the Tropic of Cancer and includes Mexico, Central and South America, and the West Indies) hawk. Recent research-using mtDNA to analyze the phylogeny of this genus has been done. What researchers found was that the black and white plumage of genus Leucopternis has evolved at least twice, and the widespread occurrence of this plumage pattern may result from plumage convergence in forested. In classical taxonomy, the black and white plumage pattern was overemphasized in the grouping of Leucopternis and plumage patterns alone may not be reliable taxonomic markers in this family
Barred Hawk status Least Concern



Distribution map

Barred Hawk distribution range map

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