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Harris's Hawk
Parabuteo unicinctus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Antenor unicinctus, Bay-winged Hawk, Erythrocnema unicincta, Dusky Hawk, Harris' Hawk, One-banded Buzzard.

Parabuteo unicinctus
click to enlarge
Distribution: Nearctic/Neotropical. Southwestern UNITED STATES south through drier portions of MEXICO, Central America, and South America to western PERU, southern CHILE, and southern ARGENTINA. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. P. u. harrisi: Southwestern UNITED STATES through MEXICO and Central America (except BELIZE) to western COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, and PERU; P. u. unicinctus: Northeastern COLOMBIA and western VENEZUELA south through eastern BOLIVIA and central and northeastern BRAZIL (Maranhno and Ceará) to southern ARGENTINA (Rio Negro), URUGUAY, and southern CHILE. more....

Taxonomy: Formerly placed in the monotypic genus Erythrocnema or Antenor. Based on molecular sequences of mitochondrial genes, Riesing et al. (2003) and Raposo do Amaral et al. (2006) indicated that this genus may be a sister taxon to Percnohierax (Buteo) leucorrhous (White-rumped Hawk) and that it lies outside the main group of true buteos. This species is increasingly called the "Bay-winged Hawk." Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) and Jaramilllo (2003) suggested the northernmost populations of harrisi may represent a separate subspecies.

Movements: Partial migrant (Bildstein 2006). Northernmost populations are partly migratory, but equatorial and austral populations are probably sedentary.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in lowlands and middle elevations (Andes of Ecuador) in arid scrub, savanna, agricultural lands, and marshy open country with scattered trees and patches of woodland. Absent from humid forest. Perches in low trees or shrubs, or even on ground. Soars often. Occurs singly, in two's, or in small family groups.

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mostly on small mammals, but also takes birds, snakes, lizards, and feeds on carrion. May hunt from a perch, or actively by flying along edges or through open vegetation, either pouncing on prey from flight or dashing in pursuit of birds accipiter-fashion. Hunts mostly early and late in the day, often cooperatively. more....

Breeding: Nest a platform of sticks often placed high in a large isolated tree. Eggs 2-4, white, usually unmarked, but rarely with a few brown spots. A very social species, and three or more birds may attend a single nest. more....

Conservation: Although it is rather rare in many parts of Middle America, overall, this is a common and widespread species that may be expanding its range in some regions following deforestation. Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Bednarz, J.C. 1998. Cooperative hunting in Harris' Hawks (Parabuteo
). Science 239:1525-1527.
Bednarz, J.C. 1987. Pair and group reproductive success, polyandry, and
  cooperative breeding in Harris' Hawks. Auk 104:393-404.
Bednarz, J.C. 1995. Harris' Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus. In A. Poole and F.
  Gills (eds.), The Birds of North America no. 146. Academy of Natural
  Sciences, Philadelphia, and American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
Bednarz, J.C., and J.D. Ligon. 1988. A study of the ecological bases of
  cooperative breeding in the Harris' Hawk. Ecology 69:1176-1187.
Bent, A.C. 1937. Life histories of North American birds of prey. Order
  Falconiformes (Part 1). U.S. National Museum Bulletin 167.
Bierregaard, R.O. 1994. Harris' Hawk. P. 174 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.
Dawson, J.W., and R.W. Mannan.. 1991. Dominance hierarchies and helper
  contributions in Harris' Hawks. Auk 108:649-660.
Dawson, J.W., and R.W. Mannan. 1991. The role of territoriality in the
  social organization of Harris' hawks. Auk 108:661-672.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Jiménez, J.E., and F.M. Jaksic. 1993. Observations on the comparative
  behavioral ecology of Harris' Hawk in central Chile. Journal of Raptor
  Research 27:143-148.
Lerner, H.R., and D.P. Mindell. 2005. Phylogeny of eagles, Old World
  vultures, and other Accipitridae based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37:327-346.
Mader, W.J. 1975. Biology of the Harris' Hawk in southern Arizona. Living
  Bird 14:59-85.
Raposo do Amaral, F.S., M.J. Miller, L.F. Silveira, E., Bermingham, and
  A. Wajntal.
2006. Polyphyly of the hawk genera Leucopternis and Buteogallus
  (Aves, Accipitridae): multiple habitat shifts during the Neotropical
  buteonine diversification. BMC Evolutionary Biology 6:1-10.

Sites of Interest:
Harris's Hawk photos.
Aves de Rapina do Brasil
Species account with emphasis on Brazil.

Alvarado Orellana, Sergio Alfredo
Beers, Roy
Cayo Cervantes, Biol. Luis Alberto
Clark, William S. (Bill)
Coulson, Jennifer O.
Escobar Gimpel, Víctor Mauricio
Jaksic, Fabián
Lisboa, Jorge
Marin, Manuel
Ospina, Alex
Pereyra Lobos, Roberto
Perez, Julio
Raimilla Almonacid, Victor
Ramos, Ernesto
Silva-Quintas, Carlos
Waks, V.J.

Last modified: 12/11/2011

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: Harris's Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 12 Jun. 2021

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