DixPix Photographs



  Fauna:  BIRDS OF PREY  


The eagles, the hawks, the kites, the owls, the falcons, and all the rest of the birds with the eye sight, the flying finesse and the fierceness to be birds of prey: these have long found a place in mans symbolism, well suited to coats of arms or tatoos.  Most are sufficiently adaptable to have carved out a large range of habitation. In Spanish they are known as 'Aves de Rapiña'.  In the Southern Cordillera region the general term used of owls is Buho, while hawks tend to be called Aguiluchos.


The amazing Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) patrols every continent except Antarctica.  It is one of the very few birds referred to as 'aguila' (eagle) in South America. Click to see big picture (383x480 pixels; 51 KB)
It does not breed in the southern Cordillera, but populations from North America migrate there for the northern winter. Click to see big picture (640x464 pixels; 61 KB)
Ospreys prey almost entirely on fish, earning the name of Aguila Pescadora. Click to see big picture (279x480 pixels; 40 KB)
Another bird to be distinguished by the term 'aguila' is the Black-chested Buzzard-eagle (Geranoaetus melanoleucus).  This hunts in the more open spaces through most of western South America.  Locally 'Aguila Mora'.   Captive. Click to see big picture (640x365 pixels; 93 KB)
The dark phase of the Rufous-tail Hawk (Buteo ventralis), here watching the patagonian terrain east of Coihaique, Chile.  Of fairly restricted range, the local name is 'Aguilucho de Cola Rojizo'.  Click to see big picture (404x480 pixels; 53 KB)
The Harris's Hawk ranges all the way from North America down to southern Chile and central Argentina.  In the southern cone it is known as Peuco.  The latin name is Parabuteo unicinctus. Harris hawk
The Variable Hawk or Red-back Hawk does not seem to have a specific local name.   It ranges over western South America and most of Argentina. Click to see big picture (324x480 pixels; 80 KB)
The scientific name for the Variable Hawk is Buteo polyosoma.  Decked out in a red-brown back and white front, this is the female of the species. Click to see big picture (640x431 pixels; 130 KB)
We catch up with the more simply dressed male in southern Argentina, but then turn to the zoo in Mendoza for a closer look. Click to see big picture (323x480 pixels; 89 KB)
And then there is the other "varied" hawk, the Varied or Cinereous Harrier (Circus cinereus).  It goes by the name 'Vari' locally. Click to see big picture (576x480 pixels; 111 KB)
The Varied Harrier is found over much of Chile and the patagonian steppes of Argentina. Click to see big picture (617x480 pixels; 73 KB)
Widely known as the Roadside Hawk, Buteo magnirostris ranges from Mexico down into Argentina, but stays pretty well to the east of the Cordillera. roadhawk
The Kestrel (Falco sparverius) is widely distributed in the Americas, and the most common falcon in Chile.  This is a captive bird, being used in the sport of falconing, where it is known as 'Cernicalo'. Click to see big picture (324x480 pixels; 55 KB)
Here a wild kestrel intently studies agricultural fields near Curico in Chile's central Valley, from a transmission wire. kestrel
The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) is a virtually world-wide hunter, specializing in preying on other birds.  It is renown for its speed.  Known as 'Halcon Peregrino', the cassini subspecies ranges over western South American and Argentina.  A captive bird is shown for close-up, and a photo of the species in its normal, craggy habitat. Click to see big picture (514x480 pixels; 69 KB)
The White-tailed Kite (Elanus caeruleus) ranges from Oregon to Chile and Argentina.  The local name has simply translated the alternate definition of 'kite', as "Bailarin". Click to see big picture (472x480 pixels; 55 KB)
The other kite involved peripherally is the Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis). The male is on the right. This ranges from the southern U.S. to Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, but stays to east of the Cordillera proper. Click to see big picture (640x430 pixels; 150 KB)
The other large family of birds of prey are the owls, and this is one of the most common, the Barn Owl  (Tyto alba) or Lechuza, a very widely distributed species.  This one was caught napping in an old mine tunnel in northern Chile. Click to see big picture (640x432 pixels; 59 KB)
The Magellanic Horned Owl (Bubo magellanicus) is known as the 'Tucuquere' and ranges from central Peru and Bolivia south to the tip of South America.  Mendoza Zoo. Click to see big picture (488x480 pixels; 99 KB)
A pair of Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) guard their nest.  They are known as 'Pequen', and while this pair live in eastern Bolivia, they can be found on both sides of the Cordillera. Click to see big picture (640x460 pixels; 140 KB)
And finally the Austral Pygmy Owl or Chuncho (Glaucidium nanum).  This rufous subspecies hails from southwestern Chiloe Island. Click to see big picture (640x477 pixels; 97 KB)