Illustration: Graphite, charcoal and dry pastels on paper, 8.3″ x 11.7″
Patricio Paretti. RAPACES

Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle

Common name: Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle
Scientific name: Geranoaetus melanoleucus
Order/Family: Accipitriformes / Accipitridae
Size: Around 65-75 cm in length and a wingspan of 160-180 cm.
Weight: Around 1,700-2,000 grams.

Physical description
One of the largest raptors in the region. It’s been to be recorded individuals with a wingspan of up to 2.2 meters and a weight of up to 4 kilograms. This eagle has mostly dark plumage on the upper part and white with dark spots on the lower part. Large and rounded head and a hooked beak.

A variety of environments in South America; mainly in open habitat, such as: grasslands and steppes, from forests and meadows to lowlands and mountains. In Magallanes, it can often be seen perched on posts along Route 9 Norte, which connects Punta Arenas with Natales. Uncommon in dense forest environments.

Behavior and feeding
Solitary and opportunistic predator. Hunts during the day and feeds mainly on mammals. In Magallanes, its diet includes rabbits, skunks and rodents. Very strong and powerful, it can carry loads heavier than its own weight, so its hunting technique consists of destabilizing, grabbing, and then abducting the prey to a place where to eat it. It can attack in flight and also stalk from elevated positions.
It is a territorial species, so it defends its space (which comprises several acres) throughout the year.

During the breeding season, couples perform spectacular aerial displays that include circular flights and vertical dives. They build a large and elaborate nest with branches and grasses on a tree or rocky wall, using it for several consecutive years. The female lays two or three eggs a year and incubates them for about a month. Once the chicks hatch, both parents feed them with fresh prey and care for them for several months before they can fly and fend for themselves.

Conservation status
Despite being a powerful and generally successful raptor in its natural environment, it has suffered a decline in its population due to habitat loss and poaching. Currently, it is classified as a species of "Least Concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Illustration: Graphite, charcoal and dry pastels on paper, 8.3″ x 11.7″
Patricio Paretti. RAPACES