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Barred Hawk
Morphnarchus princeps

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Black-chested Hawk, Prince Hawk, Prince's Hawk, Leucopternis princeps

Morphnarchus princeps
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Distribution: Neotropical. HONDURAS, NICARAGUA, COSTA RICA and PANAMA south to western COLOMBIA and northern ECUADOR on both sides of the Andes; sight records from eastern PERU. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic. more....

Taxonomy: Using sequences from four mitochondrial genes, Amaral et al. (2006) found that the genus Leucopternis, as traditionally arranged, is not monophyletic and that it is a composite of three independent lineages. The predominantly black and white plumage shared by several species has evolved at least twice. Their study indicated that this species is in a separate clade from L. albicollis and several other black and white species usually included in Leucopternis and that it is most closely related to a clade containing Buteogallus, Leucopternis, and Harpyhaliaetus species. In contrast, Lerner et al. (2008) found that L. princeps is more closely related to a large clade of Buteo and other Leucopternis taxa. Further study is needed to clarify the relationships of this species.

Movements: Probably non-migratory.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in mostly at middle elevations, sometimes descending to lowlands. Usually found inside canopy, or along the edges of mountane or cloud forests. Solitary individuals or small groups up to three or four birds often soar in the morning, vocalizing loudly.

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mostly on snakes, but also takes frogs, large insects, crabs, caecilians, earthworms, and occasionally small mammals and birds, including nestlings. Perches at low or medium heights and makes stoops to the ground or to low vegetation to capture mostly slow-moving prey (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Prey items (104) brought to a nest in Ecuador included 50 caecilians (Caecilia orientalis), 36 snakes, three giant earthworms, three young birds, three mammals, and seven unidentified items. more....

Breeding: Nests recently described by Sánchez and Sánchez (2002) from Costa Rica, Muela and Valdez (2003) from Panama, and Gelis and Greeney (2007) from Ecuador were platforms made of sticks and lined with leaves and placed in niches on rocky cliffs. Fresh leafy twigs are added to the nest during the course of incubation and brooding. Clutch size is 1 unmarked, dull white egg, and one from Ecuador measured 58.9 x 49.9 (Gelis and Greeney 2007). (Photos of the Ecuador nest and an egg are shown in the latter reference). One adult, probably the female, does most of the incubation and brooding, and the other adult brings food to the nest. At the nest in Ecuador, the nestling period was ca. 80 days (Gelis and Greeney op cit.). more....

Conservation: Regarded as rare or uncommon in most parts of its range, but probably not immediately threatened at this time. Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International (2007).

Important References: 
American Ornithologists' Union. 1998. The AOU check-list of North American
  birds. 7th ed. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
Bierregaard, R.O. 1994. Barred Hawk. Pp. 168-169 in del Hoyo, J., A.
  Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New
  World vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Gelis, R.A., and H.F. Greeney. 2007. Nesting of Barred Hawk (Leucopternis
) in northeast Ecuador. Ornitologia Neotropical 18:607-612.
Greeney,H.F., and T. Nunnery. 2006. Notes on the breeding of north-west
  Ecuadorian birds. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 126:36-45.
Muela, A., and U. Valdez. 2003. First report of the nest of the Barred
  Hawk (Leucopternis princeps) in Panama. Ornitologia Neotropical 14:267-268.

Sites of Interest:

Sanchez, Cesar

Last modified: 5/16/2017

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Barred Hawk Morphnarchus princeps. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 4 Jul. 2020

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