Raptor causes confusion at Bonilla / Ave rapaz en Bonilla trae confusión

I have delayed a little but I simply must report John and Milena Beer’s sighting of a raptor perched at close quarters  on the abandoned railway line between Peralta and Bonilla in the Reventazón river valley. How I wish I could have been with them for this one! We were initially sure from the photos that this was the rare Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus melanoleucus). Any close-up sighting of one of Costa Rica’s three hawk-eagles (“aguilillos” or little eagles, measuring from 23 to 26 inches), this species, the Ornate Hawk-Eagle or the Black Hawk-Eagle, is sure to bring gasps of admiration.

I have written previous posts on the latter two and thought I could now report on a local sighting of the smallest of the three, the Black-and-white. Here are John’s fine photos of this individual.

Hawk-Eagle, Black-and White, Bonilla (2)
Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle or Gray-headed Kite?/ ¿Aguilillo Blanco y Negro o Gavilán Cabecigris? 
Hawk-Eagle, Black-and White, Bonilla (4)
Hawk-Eagle, Black-and White, Bonilla
Now confirmed as Gray-headed Kite

Costa Rica’s raptor specialization group, Rapaces Tropicales, considers our bird to be without doubt a Gray-headed Kite (Leptodon cayanensis), not as rare as the hawk-eagle but still an uncommon sighting.   We await developments! Any comments?

Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle John Beer

2 thoughts on “Raptor causes confusion at Bonilla / Ave rapaz en Bonilla trae confusión

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