The Savanna Hawk is a hefty raptor found in open savanna and swamp edges. It was formerly placed in the genus Heterospizias. The Savanna Hawk is a widespread raptor and its habitats are throughout the lowlands of tropical and subtropical South America. The savanna hawk has very long legs and thus is able to easily walk on the ground to catch its prey, or, like other birds, it can swoop down from the sky or a tree.
The savanna hawk’s length is 46 to 61 cm and weighs 845 g. The adult hawk has a rufous body with grey mottling above and fine black barring below. The flight feathers of the long broad wings are black, and the tail is banded black and white. Savanna hawk legs are yellow in color and the call is a loud scream keeeeru. Its nest clutch has a single white egg, and the young hawk takes 6.5 to 7.5 weeks to fledge. Savanna Hawks can often be found walking through burning fields, a few feet behind the flames, searching for toasted prey.
Moreover, immature birds are the same as the adults but have darker, duller upperparts, paler underparts with coarser barring, and a whitish supercilium. This species perches very vertically, and its legs are strikingly long. Savanna Hawk normally breeds from Panama and Trinidad south to Bolivia, Uruguay, and central Argentina. Therefore, its foraging strategy is equally diverse, and it will capture prey on the wing, from perches, or even by stalking on foot. It is also the most distinguishing member of Buteogallus, with substantial gray patterning overlaying a rufous body.
Savanna hawks build their nests out of sticks in palm trees, thorny trees, or mangroves. And he uses the same next year after year. Unfortunately, its eggs though are sometimes eaten by larger birds, snakes, and other animals that live in trees. The savanna hawk’s scientific name is “Buteogallus meridionalis” which feeds on small mammals, lizards, snakes, crabs, and large insects.
The Hawk habitually sits on an open high perch from which it swoops on its prey. But will also hunt on foot, and numerous birds may gather at grass fires. The population size is in very large size and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion; hence the species is evaluated as Least Concern.