In a recent article in this journal (García-Grajales et al., 2018), an adult Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga) was mistakenly identified as an adult of the Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus solitarius). The Solitary Eagle differs from the Greater Black Eagle in having the longest and widest wings, and the shortest tail. These characteristics give it a more triangular shape in flight. These differences are easy to see in Figures 1–3. The same authors also cite a case of the nesting of the Solitary Eagle in Mexico (Smith, 1982). However, after reviewing photos of the young, we consider that this record is probably the Common Black Hawk (B. anthracinus). The illustrations of the Solitary Eagle in field guides of Mexico and Central America (Howell & Webb, 1995; Van Perlo, 2006) demonstrate greater similarity with the Great Black Hawk, contributing to the frequent confusion of the two species if used without consulting the text. The new features published here and in Clark et al. (2006) and Clark and Schmitt (2017) should help with correct identification of Buteogallus species in the future.
- Clark, W. S., Lee Jones, H., Benesh, C. D., Schmitt, N. J. (2006) Field identification of the Solitary Eagle. Birding, 38, 66–74.
- Clark, W. S., Schmitt, N. J. (2017) Raptors of Mexico and Central America. Princeton University Press, Princeton, U.S.A.
- García-Grajales, J., García García, G. A., Buenrostro-Silva, A. (2018) Registro del Águila solitaria (Buteogallus solitarius, Tschudi 1844) en la Planicie Costera Central de Oaxaca. Acta Zoológica Mexicana (nueva serie), 34, 1–4.
- Howell, S., Webb, S. (1995) A guide to the birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press, U.S.A.
- Smith, T. B. (1982) Nests and Young of two rare raptors from Mexico. Biotropica, 14, 79–80.
- Van Perlo, B. (2006) Birds of Mexico and central America. Princeton University Press, New Jersey, EE.UU.