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Pursuing a rare majesty: Black-and-Chestnut Eagle foraging and breeding ecology in Peru

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

25 October, 2021

A juvenile Black-and-Chestnut Eagle sits near his nest in Peru’s Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park. Photo by Daniel Orizano.

One of the most threatened birds of prey in the Neotropics, the Black-and-Chestnut Eagle (Spizaetus isidori) is restricted to montane forests of the tropical and subtropical Andes from Venezuela to northwestern Argentina. An apex predator, this magnificent eagle relies on extensive tracts of forest for its survival, but is threatened by habitat loss and human persecution, often in retaliation for its actual or perceived predation of chickens and other domestic animals. We have very little information on the diet and foraging needs of Black-and-Chestnut Eagles, which are recognized as globally endangered, and few nests of this species have ever been located. In Peru, this species remains particularly poorly known, with casual records and only one known study to date. To address these gaps in our knowledge, IBCP is pleased to support the research of Daniel Orizano in Peru through a 2021-2022 IBCP Partnership Grant.

Raptor researcher Daniel Orizano in the habitat of the Black-and-Chestnut Eagle in central Peru. Photo courtesy of Daniel Orizano.

Since 2018, Daniel has been conducting research on the Black-and-Chestnut Eagle in Peru’s central Yungas region, where he has discovered some of the first nests of this species known in Peru. In addition to searching for and monitoring nests, Daniel has been collecting information on the Black-and-Chestnut Eagle’ diet, foraging, and tropic ecology. Most of the nests and birds he has found to date are located outside protected areas, making them especially vulnerable to forest destruction and direct persecution. The IBCP grant will support Daniel’s pioneering research efforts on the Black-and-Chestnut Eagle, including ecological research as well as interviews with residents of this region regarding local perceptions of and attitudes towards this species. His findings will inform conservation strategies, including work to mitigate possible human-eagle conflicts in this region, to protect this rare majesty for the future.

An adult female Black-and-Chestnut Eagle by her nest near Oxapampa, central Peru. Photo by Daniel Orizano.

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