Galapagos hawk

Galapagos hawk
Buteo galapagoensis

Photo by Mark Putney (Wikipedia)

Common name:
Galapgos hawk (en); bútio-das-Galápagos (pt); buse des Galapagos (fr); ratonero de las Galápagos (es); Galapagosbussard (de)

Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

This species is endemic to the Galapagos islands of Ecuador, being found in the islands of
Santiago, Española, Isabela, Fernandina, Pinta, Marchena, Pinzón and Santa Fe.

These large hawks are 55 cm long and have a wingspan of 120 cm. They weigh 650-850 g.

The Galapagos hawk is found in all types of habitats found in the Galapagos islands, including bare lava fields, coastal areas, open rocky and scrubby areas, deciduous forests and mountain peaks. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.700 m.

They hunt seabirds such as shearwaters and boobies, doves, rats, lizards, iguanas and invertebrates. They are also known to take carrion and follow fishing boats and hunters for scraps.

Galapagos hawks can breed all year round. They are polyandrous, with one female mating with several males, all of which help rear the young. The nest is a large stick structure lined with grass, bark, leaves and other available soft materials, and placed on low branches of a tree, in a lava outcrop or on the ground. There the female lays 2-3 greenish-white eggs with brown spots, which are incubated for 37-38 days. The chicks fledge 50-60 days after hatching. They reach sexual maturity at 3 years of age.

IUCN status – VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a restricted breeding range and a global population estimated at just 270-330 individuals. The population is believed to be stable, but its small size and restricted range makes it susceptible to human persecution and predation or competition by invasive species such as feral cats. Lack of genetic diversity may pose a further threat to this population.

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