Ornate Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ornatus
By: Ángelo Córdova and Carlos Zambrano
On a clear afternoon, while we were observing birds from the Life Center, we noticed a great commotion among the birds dining on the feeders. Suddenly, we saw something that looked like a great shadow posing on a tree directly in front of us. Ángelo quickly zoomed in the telescope and to our great surprise, we saw that an ornate hawk-eagle was perched there. With a wingspan greater than a meter and weighing just under a kilogram, it is probably one of the largest predators that soar up above, in the Mashpi skies.
It inhabits humid tropical forests from the Yucatán peninsula to the south of Argentina. It can capture prey five times greater than its own weight, and other birds are its main food source. This explains why the other birds around the feeder took off at full speed, or as they say in Ecuador, made feathers!
Although recent studies carried out about their state of conservation it was found that these birds can tolerate a certain level of forest fragmentation, it is a species that is threatened due to loss of habitat and hunting.