Black-faced Hawk Leucopternis melanops
Black-faced Hawk, São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Amazonas, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Amazonas, Brazil
August 2004

The Black-faced Hawk is distributed in Brazil north of the Amazon and into the Guianas and in south and east Venezuela. There are disjunct records in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. It is usually found in várzea or swampy forest and along wooded river banks.

It does not soar but mainly hunts inside the forest perching for a short time while searching for prey which seems to consist largely of reptiles. It occasionally perches on a bare branch on sunny mornings so I was fortunate to find this bird in such circumstances.

In many ways it is a small version of White Hawk L. albicollis but is distinguished by its orange cere and feet and by the white band in the middle of the tail.

Black-faced Hawk, São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Amazonas, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image This bird has less black streaking on the crown and hindneck than I would have expected from illustrations which might indicate that it is a young bird although Hilty in "Birds of Venezuela" says "streaks inconspic., occass. virtually absent"

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