I have never seen this beautiful bird in the nature, but my dream is to capture it with the lenses of my camera and to keep that image for eternity within my heart. Maybe one day when everything is not so complicated, I may end up in Brazil, seeking for that black beauty on the sky.

The Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus Tyrannus) is usually known in our public as the Tyrant Hawk-Eagle but Brazilians have created even more interesting name: the monkey-catching hawk or „Gavião-pega-macaco”. The bird is very famous in catching and preying on monkeys.  What we know so far about this elegant sky predator? First, it is endemic to central Mexico to eastern Peru but also to south of Brazil, northern Argentina, and some parts of Costa Rica. Those magical rain forests and alluring landscape are a natural habitat of the hawk-eagle that has been endangered lately, due to the aggressive deforestation and industrialization. 

The crowned and shinned black raptor is almost like a panther in the heights, that is catching the sunshine and wind whispers, hoping to survive one day without being bothered by mankind and its demands and attack on ecosystem. Somehow, I thought that those birds are more hawks than the eagles, but the truth is that they belong to eagle family, but they are smaller and more gracious in their flying performance.

There are not many evidences about them since they are pretty much shy and hidden.  The scientists are curious about all regarding those attractive raptor birds, but it seems that the hawk-eagles are too smart to be caught in observing routine. The researcher have followed their breeding activities and concluded that The Black Hawk-Eagle’ builds its nest with sticks and possibly other plant material often high up in tall trees. The dimensions of the nest is about 1 x 0.5 meters but not many things are known about its breeding habits and behaviour. The bird itself is still a big mystery for a science that is trying to learn more about this amazing species.

This glorious raptor is very subtle in hunting so it may happen that the bird reaches the larger prey as it is expected. The bigger rodents are on hunting target list and The Black Hawk-Eagle wont hesitate to get its victim as soon as the opportunity is there.

Aguila Negra has no limits. The beauty of the bird has been always a big challenge to the bird observers and researchers. It is hidden in Americas so it could be seen in moist and gallery forests since it is neotropical resident. If you have a chance to be in such area where this species is a common, please try to follow its remarkable sound that will lead you to the water source, forest edge or semi-open hunting area, where this beautiful hawk is ready to seek for its meal and that is why is equipped with facial disk:”The facial disk – a trait it shares with owls – helps it do this. The facial disk is composed of feathers that form a circle around the bird’s face. The disk can be lifted or lowered at will. When the feathers of the facial disk are raised, they help direct sounds to the birds’ ears, which are located on the sides of its head. To find out how this works, cup your hands behind your ears and listen. You might notice that whatever you are listening to seems louder.

It is very important to understand that this umbrella species must be protected and conserved. This further means that the whole food chain that is linked to this eagle must be also protected as the crucial part of the environmental policy and preventing wildlife conflicts, destructions and decay. The raptor birds play very significant role in the natural theatre and they check and recheck the species balance and its population / depopulation. Without predators, other species would be massively produced and caused severe damages to the ecosystem. It is fantastic to observe how perfect is nature mechanism of control and balance, without people being involved at all.

The alluring portray of this bird make me think how exciting would be to be stuck in the middle of rainforest, tracing the vow of this eagle and trying to locate its standing point, trying to capture that breathtaking beauty of the unchained flying king. Those eyes and beak, that marvellous energy of the complete raptor is something that is worth of all wandering in the wilderness.

We are just at the beginning of learning about this specific predator bird and finding out all its secrets and secret life, behind the known scene for the zoology. The time will tell if this ruler of the sky is more hawk or more eagle, in its deep psychology. With no doubt, it combines the advantages of the both species, offering the best performance on the sky. This is exactly why we all need to be aware how vulnerable are those birds, even as raptors, since the people aggression and abuse of nature has no borders. They need to be observed, protected, conserved and cherished as the fragile part of our environment and wildlife resources. Once when they are damaged and lost, we wont get them easy or fast back. They are too crucial to be neglected and the conservation policy regarding raptor birds must be globally empowered and implemented through the legal steps and frames.

I know that one of my friend in Peru told me how he enjoyed the view on The Black Hawk-Eagle. He will never forget the experience like it was the moment of golden silence when he and the bird shared the eternity and compassion, so rare inter-species empathy that is worth of every new tomorrow.


  1. Sarah’s delightful and informative article brought to mind a particular black hawk-eagle I learned of a year ago: JarJar is a black hawk-eagle in Panama. He was stolen from his nest (i.e. illegal poaching) as an infant, and he grew up surrounded by humans.

    At some point, Panamanian officials arrested the poachers, but were unable to release JarJar into the wild, as he not learned any survival skills for life in the jungle. Therefore, the Panamanian Ministry of the Environment placed him in the care of a rescue organization in Panama.

    Now, every year, JarJar visits several Panamanian primary schools to introduce and acquaint the young minds with wildlife and to engrain the preciousness of Nature into the children’s learning processes. The children interact with JarJar and are fascinated by him.

    Birds of prey have inspired both awe and fear in people, always… They are charismatic animals that cause a mixture of curiosity, attraction and respect. Their innate predatory nature, and a general lack of knowledge about birds of prey, has created a direct conflict between raptors and people.

    This is particularly true in areas where raptor habitats and human settlements overlap. Even though birds of prey have some sort of conservation status and some level of governmental protection in most countries, they tend to be persecuted throughout their range. There are several reasons for their decline: poaching, habitat destruction and illegal collection of eggs and nestlings.

    When a person takes a young raptor from its nest and raises it, it easily becomes imprinted on people. When a bird is imprinted, it identifies as the species it is imprinted on. Therefore, a bird imprinted on humans lacks the necessary fear to remain safe in the wild. It may be unable to relate successfully (including mating) with others of its species, as well.


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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !