Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Bruce A. Sorrie
Photo Copyright Bruce A. Sorrie

The common black-hawk, Buteogallus anthracinus, occurs primarily in coastal areas in Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, but scattered summer populations also occur in the southwestern United States. The northernmost breeding populations of this species occur in southwestern Utah in the Virgin River drainage, but breeding efforts there may not be regular. Across its range, this hawk is usually associated with water, typically occurring in coastal wetlands and riparian corridors.

Common black-hawks are opportunistic predators that consume snakes, birds, and other medium-sized vertebrates, as well as aquatic insects and crayfish. Nesting is often in woodlands near water. Nests are constructed from 10 to 100 feet above ground in trees; nests are often re-used in following years. Usually two eggs are laid, but sometimes just one egg is laid. Eggs are incubated for about 38 days; incubation and hatchling care are shared by both parents. Young first fly after six or seven weeks, but remain dependent on their parents until they are three or four months old.


  • Schnell, J. H. 1994. Common black-hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus). Birds of North America 122: 20 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.