Rufous-thighed Hawk (Accipiter erythronemius)

Rufous-thighed Hawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Accipiter erythronemius | [authority] Grey, 1850 | [UK] Rufous-thighed Hawk | [FR] Epervier a cuisses rousses | [DE] Eckschwanz-Sperber | [ES] Gavilan Muslirrufo | [NL] Roodflanksperwer


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Accipiter erythronemius SA sc, se


Members of the genus Buteo are broad-winged, broad-tailed hawks, Well adapted for soaring. The bill, legs and talons are of average proportions. There is much colour variation both within the species, and, by way of phases, within individual species. In all cases the young are quite different from adults in that they are all well camouflaged with an overall brown appearance with varying amounts of striping below and paler mottling above.
The 25 species are spread worldwide with the exception of Australasia and much of the Indian sub-continent.

Physical charateristics

Dark upperparts , streaking to underparts rufous or dusky, cheeks typically with a clear rufous patch (occasionally lacking almost entirely) and iris yellow. Juveniles have streaking to underparts typically restricted to throat and central underparts, with flanks scaled or barred (often also belly). It is distinctive within its range, but commonly confused with the Roadside Hawk (with a very different shape). The Bicoloured Hawk is the only other Accipiter within the range of erythronemius which may show yellow eyes and rufous thighs, but it has a different pattern below.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 30 cm size max.: 32 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


South America : Southcentral, Southeast


Occurs mostly in lowland forests, but ranges higher in southern Bolivia and Jujuy, Argentina. Found in both arid and wet areas in patches or unbroken forests and may also occur in exotic tree plantations and suburban areas, or in the vicinity of buildings. Usually stays well hidden, but occasionally flies from one patch of woodland to another.


The nest is a small platform of sticks placed high in trees, including monocultures of Araucaria and non-native conifers. Breeding in Argentina and Brazil occurs from June through March. Clutch size is 2-3 eggs, which are white with bold brown and black spots. Only the female incubates and feeds the young, and the male hunts and delivers prey to the female during the incubation period and nestling period. The lengths of the incubation and nestling periods are unrecorded. Fledglings remain in the general vicinity of the nest for at least 5-6 weeks.

Feeding habits

Feeds exclusively on small and mid-sized birds. The chief hunting method consists of surprise pursuits of prey from concealed perches in secondary forest and stands of fruit trees.


Not yet recognized by bird.ife, but CITES states it as non=threatened


The extent of seasonal movements of this species remain unclear. It seems to occur only seasonally at some localities in Argentina but no hard data.

Distribution map

Rufous-thighed Hawk distribution range map

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