| Variable (Puna) Hawk Geranoaetus polyosoma poecilochrous
(aka Puna Hawk, Gurney's Hawk)
Chilean name: Aguilucho
The Variable (Puna) Hawk is distributed in the Andes from southern Colombia through Ecuador, Peru and south-west Bolivia to northern Chile and north-western Argentina. It is found in the puna zone of the Andes above 3,000 metres.
|There is disagreement about the status of this species. The SACC/AOU and Ferguson-Lees give it species status though Ferguson-Lees gives it the English name of Gurney's Hawk which doesn't seem to be used by any other authority. On the other hand Jaramillo lumps it with Red-backed Hawk and treats it as a sub-species with the collective name of Variable Hawk B. polyosoma and this is also the treatment used by the HBW and Birdlife International Checklist. Howard & Moore 4th edition also makes the two conspecific.|
Alvaro Jaramillo explains that they were separated on
the facts that Puna Hawk was larger than Red-backed Hawk, had broader
wings and was found at higher elevations. However, it now seems that these
differences are clinal or gradual. The fact that vocalisations are the
same also adds to the case for treating the two as a single
There are certainly wide variations in plumage. Photo 1 shows a small portion of the rufous mantle found on many females.