The Ornate Hawk-eagle, Spizaetus ornatus, is a bird of prey from the tropical Americas. Like all eagles, it is in the family Accipitridae.
Adult in flight, Darién National Park (Panama)
This is a medium-large raptor, at about 58-64 cm (23-25 in) in length, and weighing about 1200 g (42 oz). It has a prominent pointed crest, raised when excited, a black bill, broad wings and a long rounded tail.
The typical adult has blackish upperparts and crown, bright chestnut sides to the neck and breast and a black-edged white throat and central breast. The rest of the underparts and feathered legs are white barred with black, and the tail has broad black bars. The underwings are white, with barred flight feathers; due to the heavy pattern birds usually look rather dark in flight. Sexes are similar, but young birds have a white head, crest and underparts, with brown upperparts, and barring only on the flanks and legs.
The call is a high-pitched whee-oo whee-oo.
It is found in humid tropical forests from southern Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula, to Trinidad and Tobago, south to Peru and Argentina. Ornate Hawk-eagles eat mainly birds, with some small mammals, and reptiles. The male's courtship display is a dive with folded wings, and a climb, sometimes completing a loop. The pair will touch talons in flight as the female rolls on her back.
They build a large stick nest in a high tree (e.g. Ceiba), many meters above ground. The nest is around 1 meter (3 ft) in diameter. Most breeding activity occurs around April/May, differing slightly according to location: in Guatemala breeding activity was observed from March to June, in Costa Rica in April and May, in Panama from November/December to May, and in the lowlands of Ecuador in March and April.