Galapagos Species Checklist

Buteo galapagoensis (Gould, 1837)

gavilán de Galápagos, Galapagos Hawk

Juvenile Galapagos Hawk. Photo: Michael Dvorak, CDF.
Juvenile Galapagos Hawk. Photo: Michael Dvorak, CDF.

Length 56 cm, wingspan 120 cm. The only large and dark, broad winged bird likely to be seen sitting in a tree or circling high in the sky. Adult almost is black except for some chestnut on under parts and a grey or brown tail crossed by about nine darker bands. Immature has body buff colored, mottled with dark brown. Recently fledged juveniles have breast and belly bright chestnut. Bill dark with yellow cere or fleshy base, and feet are yellow. Female is larger than male (Harris 1974; Castro & Phillips 1996).

Threats Dependant on food availability. May be affected by the toxins used for the control of feral mammals, particularly rats.

Taxonomy

Domain
Eukaryota

Kingdom
Animalia

Phylum
Chordata

Class
Aves

Order
Accipitriformes

Family
Accipitridae

Genus
Buteo

Species
galapagoensis

Taxon category: Accepted

Syn.: Polyborus galapagoensis Gould, 1837; Craxirex galapagoensis Gould, 1837; Buteo galapagensis Sundevall, 1871; Buteo galapagoensis Ridgway, 1890

Status

Vulnerable

Ecology

Preference for an altitude zone in Galapagos: Coastal zone - high altitude dry zone

Feeding type: Feeds on number of birds, small mammals, and lizards. It is the only serious predator of marine iguanas who react actively to hawks flying over the colonies. Goats used to provide a good food source both through natural death and in the hunting seasons, this resource is much depleted. The consequences are unknown

Trophic role: Carnivorous

Reproductive biology: On Isabela, Marchena and Pinta, Galapagos Hawks are 100 % polyandrous, one female mating with 2-8 males that form a group defending a territory year round. All the males contribute cooperatively to the care of the brood. Outside the breeding territories, non breeding females and immature males, form a floating population. On Santiago and Santa Fé, only a proportion exhibit polyandry, on Espanola the population is monogamous. Each male in a polyandrous group has fewer offspring than monogamous males, but they have a higher survival rate.

Distribution

Distribution: Present on almost all islands, with exception of Genovesa, Wolf, Darwin. Extinct on Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Floreana, Baltra. Genetic information shows no gene flow between island populations, and hence a relative isolation of sub-populations. The species could be in the first stages of diversi

References

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  • Bollmer, J. Kimball, R., Whiteman, N., Sarasola, J. & Parker, P. (2006) Phylogeography of the Galápagos hawk (Buteo galapagoensis): A recent arrival to the Galápagos Islands. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30:237-247.
  • Bollmer, J. Sanchez, T., Cannon, M., Sanchez, D., Cannon, B., Bednarz, J., De Vries, T., Struve, M. & Parker, P. (2003) Variation in morphology and mating system among island populations of Galápagos Hawks. The Condor 105:428-438.
  • Bollmer, J. Whiteman, N., Cannon, M., Bednarz, J., De Vries, T. & Parker, P. (2005) Population genetics of the Galápagos hawk (Buteo galapagoensis): genetic monomorphism within isolated populations. The Auk 122:1210-1224.
  • Deem, S.L. Rivera-Parra, J.-L. & Parker, P. (2012) Health evaluation of Galápagos Hawks (Buteo Galapagoensis) on Santiago Island, Galápagos. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 48:39-46.
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  • Faaborg, J. (1986) Reproductive success and survivorship of the Galapagos hawk Buteo galapagoensis: potential costs and benefits of cooperative polyandry. Ibis 128:337-347.
  • Faaborg, J. Bednarz, J. (1990) Galapagos and Harris' hawks: divergent causes of sociality in two raptors. Cooperative breeding in birds: long term studies of ecology and behaviour Stacey, P. & Koenig, W. (Eds.). Cambridge University Press :357-383.
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  • Hull, J. Savage, W., Bollmer, J., Kimball, R., Parker, P., Whuteman, N. & Ernest, H. (2008) On the origin of the Galápagos hawk: an examination of phenotypic differentiation and mitochondrial paraphyly. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 95:779-789.
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  • Rivera, J. Vargas, F. & Parker, P. (2011) Natal dispersal and sociality of young Galapagos hawks on Santiago island. The Open Ornithology Journal 4:12-16.

The “Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands”, in French “Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association International sans but lucratif (“AISBL”), has its registered office located at Chaussée de la Hulpe 177 Bte 20 (rez) - 1170, Brussels, and is registered under the trade registry of Brussels under the number 0409.359.103.

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