New specie for Tranquilo Bay Backyard List

Birding Panama

Last month while I was working on my computer, a call “called” for my attention, so I ran out with my camera and binoculars.   I got to the open area in front of the cabins, and I could still hear the call, but could not see the “caller.”  I ran up into the tower as fast as I could and then, after a few meters above the ground I found my “target.”   I had the chance to enjoy it with my binoculars, and try to take some pictures.  This one is a specie I had seen very few times, usually soaring high up and never been able to photograph it before. Our new on site specie was a gorgeous Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus), soaring above the forest behind the cabins and gaining altitude, making the beautiful and very distinctive call of the specie.

Panama Birding

Black Hawk-Eagles are primarily black overall with black and white barring on their feathered legs.  The tail shows three white bands and the underside of its wings are heavily banded with white, that can be clearly seen when the bird is flying. This large bird of prey is 60cm (25 in) in average length and the wing span is about 131cm (52 in).

The distribution range of these birds is from Mexico south through the Amazon basin as well as in Atlantic coastal forest from eastern Brazil south to northern Argentina. It can be found in open and dense lowland forests. The most common way of finding these majestic birds is when they soar high overhead, making their characteristic whistle-like, sharp call. They feed on mammals, birds, and reptiles.


Quintero, Ignacio, and Andrés Jácome. 2011. Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

Angehr, George and Dean, Robert. 2010. The Birds of Panama, A Field Guide.

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