Long-tailed Hawk (Urotriorchis macrourus)

Long-tailed Hawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Urotriorchis macrourus | [authority] Hartlaub, 1855 | [UK] Long-tailed Hawk | [FR] Autour a longue queue | [DE] Langschwanz-Habicht | [ES] Azor rabilargo | [NL] Langstaarthavik


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Urotriorchis are medium-sized hawks with a very long, graduated tail. The tail is longer than the head and body combined. Like the tropical goshawks, the genus has short and rounded wings, and powerful legs and talons. Adults are chestnut below, greyish black above. Immatures are white below, spotted with grey. Except for the extraordinary tail this genus would certainly be merged with Accipiter. There is but one species, which lives in the forests of West Africa.

Physical charateristics

The adult is dark slate above, paler grey on the cheeks and mantle, and darker on the wings. The rump is smoke grey, sometimes with white spots; the upper tail coverts pure white. The tail is black, graduated, the feathers tipped white and with four irregular crossbars of white. The primaries and secondaries are brown, barred black and notched with white on base of inner webs. The chin and lower throat are grey. The rest of the under parts as far as the thighs are chestnut; with white under-tail coverts. The under side of wings and tail are barred black and white. The eyes are reddish yellow, the cere and feet pale yellow.
Immatures are blackish brown above, including the upper-tail coverts, with tawny markings. The tail is broadly banded black and brown above, black and white below, perhaps shorter than that of adult. Under parts are white, sometimes almost unmarked, sometimes with large blackish spots on breast and sides.

Listen to the sound of Long-tailed Hawk

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/ACCIPITRIFORMES/Accipitridae/sounds/Long-tailed Hawk.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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Africa : West, Westcentral


Living secretively in dense forests, they are probably more common than is generally supposed. They are most likely to be seen when they fly across an opening such as a road. They apparently spend most of their time in the treetops hunting squirrels and small birds.


The mating season occurs in July and August, when the pair build a nest on a high tree. Little is known regarding nesting and breeding the young.

Feeding habits

The African Long-tailed Hawk subsists mainly on small mammals, especially Scale-tailed Squirrels, and birds of the treetops. It kills the prey by a strong grip on the throat. They do come out in the open to take chickens round villages, and it is claimed that they walk about on the ground among fowls before making a catch, although this has not been confirmed.


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 is very large, and hence does not 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.
Long-tailed Hawk status Least Concern


Resident and sedentary

Distribution map

Long-tailed Hawk distribution range map

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