Black-collared Hawk (Busarellus nigricollis)

Black-collared Hawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Busarellus nigricollis | [authority] Latham, 1790 | [UK] Black-collared Hawk | [FR] Buse a tete blanche | [DE] Fischbussard | [ES] Busardo Colorado | [NL] Moerasbuizerd


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Busarellus are medium-sized hawks with long broad wings and short, broad tail. The moderately hooked bill is rather long, as are the legs. The bottom of the feet are covered with prickly spicules used for catching fish. The feathers of the crown and nape are pointed, forming a slight crest. The plumage is extensively rufous, and there is only a moderate difference between the immature and the adult. This is a specialised member of the group of neo tropical buzzard-like species which includes Heterospizias, Buteogallus and Parabuteo.

Physical charateristics

The adult Fishing Buzzard has a more or less white head, tinged with buff, and with black shaft streaks on the crown. The body, above and below, and the mantle, are bright cinnamon rufous, paler on the chest. There is a black crescent on the upper breast. The back has scattered black shaft stripes; the flight and tail feathers are black with the base of the tail barred with rufous. The eyes are bright reddish brown, the cere and bill black, and the legs bluish white.
Immatures are similar, but blotched with black, including on the crown, and the rufous barring on the tail is more extensive. The pale area on the chest is also more clearly marked. The upper surface of the wings is barred, and the eyes are brown.

Listen to the sound of Black-collared Hawk

[audio: Hawk.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: cm wingspan max.: cm
size min.: 45 cm size max.: 49 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Latin America : Central Mexico to North Argentina


Prefers rain forest, flooded forest and flooded land including rice fields. Found up to 800 meters. Found near water, in open or semi-open country, it is often quite common. In parts of their range where dykes or roads cross wetland and paddy fields they can often be seen on every third or fourth telegraph pole. When watching for food, they may perch in trees or bushes along or over water


They use a nest about the size of that of a Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperi). It is usually placed in a large tree, frequently near water, but sometimes in shade trees in coffee plantations and the like. The nest may be generously lined with green leaves. Between three and five eggs are laid, dull white, spotted with pale yellow-brown or red-brown, and a few darker freckles. No further information is available to me at this time.

Feeding habits

The Black-collared Hawk lives on a diet mainly composed of fish. Also water bugs and occasionally lizards, snails and rodents. Their feet are spiny for catching fish, and it sometimes swoops down with scarcely a wing beat and catch one without wetting the plumage, in the manner of the African Fish Eagle. At other times it may plunge awkwardly into shallow water from a low perch. On these occasions it may be seen sitting for some time drying its plumage.
It soars frequently at some seasons, descending from a great height with legs dangling and tail pumping.

Video Black-collared Hawk


copyright: youtube


This species has an extremely 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 moderately small to large, 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.
Busarellus nigricollis distribution includes Mexico, through all of Central America, to most of South America to the east of the Andes, limited to the south including Bolivia, Paraguay, the north of Argentina and Uruguay.
Black-collared Hawk status Least Concern


Sedentary, but nomadic if water levels change.

Distribution map

Black-collared Hawk distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *