Crowned Solitary Eagle (Harpyhaliaetus coronatus)

Crowned Solitary Eagle

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Harpyhaliaetus coronatus | [authority] Vieillot, 1817 | [UK] Crowned Solitary Eagle | [FR] Buse couronne | [DE] Zaunadler | [ES] Aguila de azara | [NL] Kransarend


Monotypic species


Harpyhaliaetus is a genus of eagles. Recent studies have shown that the Solitary Eagle is closely related to the black-hawks, in particular the Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis) which is smaller and browner but otherwise very similar to “Harpyhaliaetus”. Therefore, this genus may be merged into that of the black-hawks.

Physical charateristics

Large, powerful, crested eagle. Long, broad wings with short tail. Dull slaty-grey, slightly darker on wings. Prominent bushy crest. Dusky tail with white band and tip. Yellowish legs and cere. Immature brown above with creamy head and dark post-ocular stripe. Cream throat and underparts, mottled brown on upper breast. Brown tarsi and mottling in lower belly.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 75 cm size max.: 85 cm
incubation min.: 39 days incubation max.: 45 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


South America : Southeast, Southcentral. Harpyhaliaetus coronatus has a very large range in Brazil (from Maranhao and Bahia west to Mato Grosso and south to Rio Grande do Sul), Bolivia (Beni and Santa Cruz), Uruguay (no records since before 1933 and presumably extirpated), Paraguay, and Argentina (Jujuy to south Buenos Aires and La Pampa with an accidental record in Neuquen.


Semicrespular species, occurs in mostly open country, including grasslands, brushlands, savannas, and lightly wooded foothills, where it soars or perches for long periods in tall trees, on fenceposts, stakes, or even on the ground. Often occurs in pairs, at times accompanied by a juvenile.


The nest is a huge platform of sticks placed high in a main fork of a large tree. The clutch size is a single egg, which is white and unmarked. In Argentina, egg-laying extends from August to October, and hatching occurs in November-December. Generally, only the female incubates, and the male is present at the nest only when he is delivering food to the female. The incubation period at an Argentine nest was at least 39 or 40 days, but the nest was abandoned before hatching.

Feeding habits

Feeds mostly on armadillos and other medium-sized mammals, especially skunks, medium-sized birds, lizards, and carrion of various types.

Video Crowned Solitary Eagle


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species qualifies as Endangered because it has a very small, fragmented population, and the severity of the threats it faces strongly suggest a significant and continuing decline in numbers.
Habitat destruction and hunting are the most pertinent threats. In Brazil, campo cerrado habitats are being rapidly destroyed by mechanised agriculture, intensive cattle-ranching, afforestation, invasive grasses, excessive use of pesticides and annual burning. The situation is similar in much of Paraguay, but habitat remains fairly intact in Concepcion, where direct persecution is probably more significant. Chaco habitats are more intact, but increasing colonisation is destroying wooded areas and grassland. Persecution, including shooting and deliberate disturbance, may be a significant threat in central Argentina, but recent records from Paraguay indicate that the species may be able to use extensive cattle ranches where it is not subjected to disturbance
Crowned Solitary Eagle status Endangered


Irruptive or local migrant

Distribution map

Crowned Solitary Eagle distribution range map

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