Black-faced Hawk (Leucopternis melanops)

Black-faced Hawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Leucopternis melanops | [authority] Latham, 1790 | [UK] Black-faced Hawk | [FR] Buse a face noire | [DE] Zugelbussard | [ES] Busardo Carinegro | [NL] Zwartmaskerbuizerd


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Leucopternis melanops SA n Amazonia


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 plumage is of mainly blackish slate coloration of the pileum and hind neck, white spots on wing coverts and scapulars, and the possession of conspicuous orbital ring around the eyes. Underparts white, eyes brown and the dark tail has a single white bar (juveniles have two bars); Yellow feet. Sexes similar.

Listen to the sound of Black-faced Hawk

[audio: Hawk.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 54 cm wingspan max.: 58 cm
size min.: 37 cm size max.: 42 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


South America : North Amazonia. The Guianas and Amazonia N of Amazon R to E Colombia and E Ecuador.


Lowland rainforest, preferably along forest and river edges. Sometimes seen in the savannas but mostly stays inside the forest. Is found up to 100 meter in Brazil.


No data

Feeding habits

Diet consists of birds, reptiles (snakes), invertebrates and large athropods and beetles. Supposedly stalks ant tracks to catch birds eating the ants.

Video Black-faced Hawk


copyright: J. del Hoyo


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.
It is found in the northern Amazon Basin of Brazil and the Guianas; also Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. Not uncommon in the rain forest of Surinam, a nest has not yet been found.
Black-faced Hawk status Least Concern


Very little data available, thought to be sedentary.

Distribution map

Black-faced Hawk distribution range map


Title Sympatry of the Black-faced Hawk Leucopternis melanops
and the White-browed Hawk Leucopternis kuhli in the
Lower Rio Tapajs, Par, Brazil
Author(s): Jos Barlow, Torbjrn Haugaasen & Carlos A. Peres
Abstract: Black-faced Hawk Leucopternis melanops is distribu..[more]..
Source: School of Environmental Sciences

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