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Crested Eagle Morphnus guianensis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is rare throughout its vast range, and is thought to be declining moderately rapidly owing to habitat loss and hunting. For this reason it is classified as Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Distribution and population
Morphnus guianensis is sparsely distributed throughout its extensive range from Guatemala through Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, and east Andean Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia to north Argentina (Bierregaard 1994a, Bierregaard et al. 1995, Guyra Paraguay 2004).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 1,000-10,000 individuals, roughly equating to 670-6,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 29.8-47% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (54 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). However, the rate of loss outside Amazonia is likely to be lower (A. Lees in litt 2011), so the species is therefore suspected to decline by 25-30% over three generations.

It occurs in lowland tropical and subtropical forest, including gallery forest in the south of its range, typically below 600 m but locally up to 1,200 m (Bierregaard 1994a, Parker et al. 1996).

Its large size and low population densities make it particularly vulnerable to hunting (Bierregaard 1994a, Bierregaard et al. 1995). Deforestation is a severe problem, with many old records from now deforested parts of the Chocó region in north-west Colombia (Bierregaard 1994a, Bierregaard et al. 1995). Similarly extensive deforestation in parts of its Central American range suggest that local contractions of range or serious declines in population have already occurred (Bierregaard 1994a, Bierregaard et al. 1995). It presumably also suffers from competition with humans for prey (Galetti et al. 1997b).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey and attempt to estimate population density and global population. Organise educational campaigns to reduce hunting pressure. Study its ability to persist in fragmented and degraded habitat.

Bierregaard, R. O. 1994. Neotropical Accipitridae (Hawks and Eagles). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 52-205. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Galetti, M.; Martuscelli, P.; Pizo, M. A.; Simão, I. 1997. Records of Harpy and Crested Eagles in the Brazilian Atlantic forest. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 117: 27-31.

Guyra Paraguay. 2004. Guyra Paraguay, Asunción, Paraguay.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Parker, T. A.; Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases. In: Stotz, D.F.; Fitzpatrick, J.W.; Parker, T.A.; Moskovits, D.K. (ed.), Neotropical bird ecology and conservation, pp. 113-436. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Temple, H.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Morphnus guianensis. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles)
Species name author (Daudin, 1800)
Population size 670-6700 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 9,190,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species