Common Black-Hawk
Buteogallus anthracinus
The Common Black-Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus) ranges from the southwestern U.S. into northern South America. It is usually found in association with water since it often feeds on frogs and tadpoles, fish, crabs, crayfish, etc. The shots on this page were taken in December, 2004, in southern Tamaulipas, Mexico. There is one shot of an adult and several shots of an immature bird. The immature bird is shown capturing and eating a crab along the muddy banks of a tidal inlet near the Gulf of Mexico coast. These shots were digital photos with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and EF 600 mm F/4 L IS lens.
In May, 2007, I was back in southern Tamaulipas. Mexico, on the same property where the black-hawk shots had been taken in 2004. While sitting in a photo blind near a small pond attempting to photograph smaller birds, a Common Black-Hawk landed on a perch right in front of me. The white sky background did not lend itself to the images (I would have preferred a blue sky background) but still, the shots are interesting. These images were taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and EF 500mm F/5 L IS lens.
On the same property in Mexico as the above shots, we erected a 35 foot tall scaffold blind on a Common Black-Hawk nest. A pair was tending to a single very small chick. The shot immediately shown here shows this nest from the blind with a normal lens. The remaining shots were taken with the same gear as above, sometimes with a 1.4X and sometimes with a 2X extender.
In some of the shots at right, the female is feeding parts of a crab to the youngster which is not very visible due to its small size.
The female Common Black-Hawk kept this nest and nest area very clean. We suspected this was to discourage ants or other problem insects. She would carry the crab parts well away from the nest after feeding her youngster. The shot shown here shows the bird flying away with some crab debris in her bill. She would drop the debris away from the nest, then return immediately. On one occasion she accidently dropped a piece of crab debris when she was leaving the nest. She immediately flew down to the ground, under our blind, to pick up the item, then flew away with it again. The next shot shows her right below me.
On the right are three more flight shots. Two of the shots show the female returning to the nest after dropping crab debris in another area, while another shot shows her leaving the nest carrying a piece of crab leg.
In September, 2009, I spotted two moulting adult Common Black-Hawks near Fort Davis, Jeff Davis Co., Texas. The birds were near a pond and one of them stayed long enough for a few brief shots before flying away. This image was taken with a Canon EOS 50D and an EF 500mm F/4 L IS lens and 1.4X extender.