Members of the genus Geranospiza are medium-sized, slender, lightly built hawks. The wings are short, broad, and rounded with broad secondaries. The tail and legs are long. The legs are terminated by short, especially the outer one. The joint at the ‘heel’ is flexible in either direction; this facilitates reaching into crevices after prey. Plumage is generally soft, lax and blended. Immatures are not conspicuously different from adults. It is very possible that this genus is related to Polyboroides of Africa, although this may be just a very close resemblance, and this genus may be more closely related to American genera as Leucopternis. The genus contains only one species, in the American tropics from Mexico to Argentina.
Geranospiza caerulescens livens of North-western Mexico is larger and paler; deep grey rather than greyish black.
Geranospiza caerulescens baizarensis of the Pacific slope from eastern Panama to north-western Peru is similar to G. c. livens, but smaller. The young are more extensively marked with buffy white below, and the under-tail coverts are a rich buff.
Geranospiza caerulescens caerulescens of eastern Colombia and Ecuador, Venezuela, Guiana, and Brazil as far south as the Amazon Valley is paler than any of the preceding races; with or without some whitish barring on belly and thighs. The young are very extensively mottled below with yellowish buff.
Geranospiza caerulescens gracilis resides in North-eastern Brazil, as far south as Bahai. It is uniformly and sharply barred below grey and white (the barring is sometimes absent from the throat and chest). The wing coverts, upper and lower, are also barred to some extent. There is less black, and more tawny on the tail. The young are buffer below. Geranospiza caerulescens fiexipes of Southern Brazil, Paraguay, northern Argentina and Bolivia is larger and paler than G. c. gracilis.
Listen to the sound of Crane Hawk
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
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It is perhaps at its most common in scrub or deciduous tropical woodland with small streams or pools, like in the ranch-lands of north-western Costa Rica, the dry forest of northern Venezuela, or the chaco.
In Mexico the nests are built in cypresses in creek bottoms, often with sub-arid vegetation nearby, about 50 feet up in very tall cypresses, either next to the trunk, or far out on a limb. Nests have also been seen in Surinam some 35 feet up in a shady tree among coffee. Nests are small open cups of small twigs and vine stalks; lined with grass, weed stalks, small twigs, usually lined with some green leaves. Eggs are plain white; like a harrier’s.
Video Crane Hawk
copyright: K. Blomerley
The Crane Hawk can be found in the tropical lowlands from Mexico to eastern Bolivia, northern Argentina and Paraguay.