White-necked Hawk (Leucopternis lacernulatus)

White-necked Hawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Leucopternis lacernulatus | [authority] Temminck, 1827 | [UK] White-necked Hawk | [FR] Buse lacernulee | [DE] Weisshals-Bussard | [ES] Busardo Cuelliblanco | [NL] Braziliaanse Bonte Buizerd


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Leucopternis lacernulatus SA e Brazil


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

Medium-sized, black-and-white forest raptor. White head, washed grey on hindcrown, neck and upper back. All-white underparts. Black back and wings, some faint whitish mottling on tertials. Broad, rounded wings. Short white tail, with black base and thin apical band. Yellow iris, cere and legs. Immature has dark streaks on crown and nape, rufous-brown tips to wing-coverts and scapulars. Mantled Hawk L. polionota has some black mottling on upper back, white tips to secondaries and no black on tip of tail.

wingspan min.: 93 cm wingspan max.: 99 cm
size min.: 43 cm size max.: 48 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 : East Brazil. Occurs in the Atlantic forest of east Brazil (Paraiba in 1949, Alagoas, central and south Bahia, east Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and extreme east Parana and Santa Catarina). Though considered common around 1830, the paucity of recent records suggest that it is uncommon in isolated forest patches, with a small overall population.


It appears largely confined to patches of primary lowland forest up to 900 m (but to 2,890 m in Minas Gerais), where it occurs in the midstorey. In Minas Gerais, it has also been recorded in secondary habitats (capoeiras, Eucalyptus plantations), but always close to areas of extensive, more pristine, forest cover.


No data

Feeding habits

The White-necked hawk generally perches in the middle strata of tall forest, dropping to the ground to obtain arthropods, reptiles, mammals, birds, and snails. It appears to specialise in invertebrate prey, feeding on those disturbed by other animals (including Eciton army ants, a human with a lawn-mower, foraging birds and monkeys). A recent study of prey revealed grasshoppers, stick insects and a gastropod Megalobulimus paranaguensis. Stomach contents of three individuals also indicate a primarily invertebrate diet, including spiders and insects, although other prey, including birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, have been reported. It sometimes follows army ant swarms to feed on fleeing insects.

Video White-necked Hawk


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it is assumed to have a small population, which is fragmented and likely to be declining as a result of continued habitat loss and direct persecution.
It is primarily at risk from habitat destruction, which is compounded by its low density and highly fragmented range. Unwarranted persecution as a predator of domestic animals remains a problem in So Paulo and Minas Gerais.
White-necked Hawk status Vulnerable



Distribution map

White-necked Hawk distribution range map

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