This species has been uplisted to Endangered on the basis that its declining population is estimated to be very small, with fewer mature individuals than previously thought. The destruction of its montane forest habitat, as well as direct human persecution, are inferred to be driving a continuing decline. Further research is required to elucidate threatening processes and quantify their resulting effects on population trends.
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: #http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.html#.
Distribution and population
Oroaetus isidori Collar and Andrew (1988), Oroaetus isidori Collar et al. (1994), Oroaetus isidori Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Oroaetus isidori BirdLife International (2004), Oroaetus isidori Stotz et al. (1996)
This species has an extensive but narrow and altitudinally restricted linear distribution on the coastal ranges of north-central Venezuela
(Carabobo and Aragua) and north-eastern Colombia
(Santa Marta Mountains), and from the subtropical slopes of the Andes from Venezuela (Mérida and Perijá Mountains) through Colombia, Ecuador
to west-central Bolivia
and north-western Argentina
(Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, Thiollay 1994, Roesler et al
. 2008). It is thought to be rare and patchily distributed but its status is very poorly known (Thiollay 1994,
Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). The total population is precautionarily estimated to include fewer than 1,000 mature individuals (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001, C. Márquez in litt
. 2014), with no more than 250 mature individuals in each sub-population.Population justification
The population in Venezuela has been estimated in the low hundreds (C. J. Sharpe in litt.
2003), with probably fewer than 250 mature individuals in Bolivia (S. K. Herzog in litt
. 2013). The population in Argentina may be small (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001), and whilst there is an unquantified number in Peru, it remains rare. Opinions on the population in Colombia vary, with one population alone, in a large stretch of suitable habitat on the eastern slopes of the Andes in Colombia, from Huila to Meta department, thought to support a few hundred individuals (T. Donegan in litt.
2010), compared with an estimate of fewer than 100 adults in the country's total population (C. Márquez in litt
. 2012, 2014). The species appears to be common in the Santa Marta mountains and on the western slope of the Los Nevados National Park and around Ucumari and Monterredondo (C. Downing in litt
. 2013), although this species is mobile, with the same birds probably recorded multiple times in a single day (C. Márquez in litt
. 2014). The population in Ecuador is thought to consist of a maximum of 200 mature individuals (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001). The global population has been variously estimated at more than 1,000 individuals
(T. Donegan in litt.
2010, Y. Molina in litt.
2010) or fewer than this (H. Vargas in litt
. 2012, C. Márquez in litt
. 2014). It is therefore precautionarily placed in the band for 250-999 mature individuals, with no more than 250 mature individuals in each sub-population. Based on this, there are assumed to be c.370-1,500 individuals in total. However, a complete survey of this species throughout its range is needed to accurately quantify its global population.Trend justification
This species is thought to prefer primary forests (C. J. Sharpe in litt.
2003, T. Donegan in litt.
2010), although it may persist in mosaics of primary and secondary forest with open areas (C. Márquez in litt
. 2012). Given habitat loss (Thiollay 1994) and persecution by humans (H. Vargas in litt
. 2012) throughout its range, the population is considered to be declining. It has been reported, however, that there has been no discernible decline in records in Risaralda and Magdalena, Colombia, over the past 13-18 years (C. Downing in litt
. 2013), thus detailed monitoring is required to quantify the overall population trend. Ecology
It is found on heavily forested mountain slopes, probably occurring mostly in large valleys, usually at 1,500-2,800 m, but recorded from sea-level to 3,500 m (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, Thiollay 1994). It has been observed in some partially logged tracts of forest, but this is perhaps as a direct result of extensive primary forest loss in the subtropical zone (Thiollay 1994). Despite such observations, it is considered that the species requires some undisturbed primary montane forest in at least part of its large home range
(Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It has been recorded feeding on a variety of mammals and birds, and its breeding season in Colombia and Bolivia is thought to be between February and September (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Chickens comprised over a third of prey items at one nest in Colombia (Márquez and Delgado 2010).Threats
It apparently requires at least part of its home range to include undisturbed primary forest, which has been subject to huge losses in many parts of its extensive range, primarily owing to conversion for agriculture
(Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). In Ecuador, montane forests are threatened by logging and mining (G. Buitron in litt
. 2014). Persecution has been recorded in Colombia and Ecuador in response to predation of chickens (Márquez and Delgado 2010, Y. Molina in litt.
2010, C. Márquez in litt
. 2012, 2014). It is not known how serious a threat this is, but in one Colombian study, eight cases of eagle persecution and killing were noted (Márquez and Delgado 2010). This conflict appears to be increasing (C. Márquez in litt
. 2014), and as larger extensions of forest are colonised, eagles may come into more frequent contact with humans and livestock (C. Márquez in litt
. 2012, H. Vargas in litt
. 2012).Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in several national parks and other protected areas in Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador (C. J. Sharpe in litt.
Y. Molina in litt.
2010, H. Vargas in litt
. 2012). A conservation and monitoring project on the east slope of the Eastern Andes of Colombia is seeking to identify priority areas for conservation as well as addressing conflicts between poultry owners and eagles (C. Márquez in litt
. 2012). Conservation Actions Proposed
Research its ecological requirements and tolerance of habitat fragmentation. Attempt to obtain an accurate global population estimate of this difficult to survey species. Expand network of protected areas to include large core areas of mountain slope primary forest. Investigate methods to protect backyard chickens from eagle predation (C. Márquez in litt
. 2012, H. Vargas in litt
Ferguson-Lees, J.; Christie, D. A. 2001. Raptors of the world. Christopher Helm, London.
Fjeldså, J.; Krabbe, N. 1990. Birds of the high Andes. Apollo Books, Copenhagen.
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 19 June 2012).
Marquez, C.; Delgado, H. 2010. Feeding ecology and conservation of Isidor's Eagle (Spizaetus isidori) in Colombia. The Peregrine Fund Reports. The Peregrine Fund, Boise, Idaho, USA.
Ridgely, R. S.; Greenfield, P. J. 2001. The birds of Ecuador: status, distribution and taxonomy. Cornell University Press and Christopher Helm, Ithaca and London.
Salaman, P. G. W.; Donegan, T. M.; Cuervo, A. M. 1999. Ornithological surveys in Serranía de los Churumbelos, southern Colombia. Cotinga 12: 29-39.
Thiollay, J.-M. 1994. Family 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.
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., Calvert, R., Capper, D., Clay, R., Mansur, E., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
Buitron, G., Calderón, D., Donegan, T., Downing, C., Herzog, S., Molina-Martínez, Y., Márquez, C., Sharpe, C J, Vargas, H. & Zuluaga, Z.
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Spizaetus isidori. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 09/10/2015.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 09/10/2015.
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.