Buteogallus aequinoctialis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Buteogallus aequinoctialis (Gmelin, 1788)
Common Name(s):
English Rufous Crab-hawk, Rufous Crab Hawk, Rufous Crab-Hawk
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Identification information: Sooty black with fuscous wings and rufous underparts; yellow-orange legs; short black tail with narrow white band in middle and narrow white tip; rufous edging to wings and back. Similar spp. B. meridionalis, which differs in size, head and throat plumage, and range extent.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Lees, A., Pracontal, N., Develey, P. & De Luca, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Khwaja, N. & Symes, A.
This species has been uplisted to Near Threatened as it is suspected to be undergoing moderately rapid declines owing to conversion and degradation of its coastal mangrove habitat. However, its population and trend remains poorly known, and better information may lead to further reclassification in future.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Buteogallus aequinoctialis occurs from the Orinoco Delta, east Venezuela, along the north-east South American coast through Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana to Paraná, south Brazil (del Hoyo et al. 1994). It is apparently frequent to common throughout its range, except for in Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago, where it is uncommon and local (Restall et al. 2006). In Brazil, the core distribution occurs from Maranhão (or perhaps Piauí) to Amapá, and it is apparently rare from Ceará to Paraná (A. de Luca in litt. 2013).
Countries occurrence:
Brazil; French Guiana; Guyana; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:5860000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population has not been quantified but was estimated to be in the thousands assuming an average of 1 pair/km along a mostly linear distribution of c.6,000 km (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).

Trend Justification:  

This species is precautionarily suspected to be undergoing moderately rapid ongoing declines owing to loss of its mangrove habitat.

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs in mangroves and other swampy areas, feeding on crabs (del Hoyo et al. 1994).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):7.6
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The primary threat to this species is accelerating deforestation in the Amazon Basin, and it is projected to lose well over 50% of its known habitat (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). The area of mangrove habitat in range states along the north-east coast of South America was estimated to have declined by over half during 1980-2000 (Wilkie and Fortuna 2003). However, it is quite tolerant of habitat degradation and occurs in suburban mangrove swamps in Pará, Brazil (A. C. Lees in litt. 2011). Threats to mangroves include development for housing, conversion to shrimp farms and cutting for timber (A de Luca in litt. 2013). In French Guiana there has been little pressure on mangroves owing to their inaccessibility (N. de Pracontal in litt. 2010), while in Brazil loss of mangroves along the coasts of Para and Maranhao has not been extensive (net loss during of 19 km2, or 3.2%, in 1972-1997, Menezes et al. 2008 per A. C. Lees in litt. 2011). In Rio Grande do Norte however, there has been extensive conversion of mangroves to shrimp farming, and only one pair has been noted recently (Grupo Ornitológico Potiguar in litt. 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation actions and research underway
No specific action is known. Mangroves are under considered as APPs (Permanent Protected Areas) under the new Brazilian Forest Code, however there are loopholes that potentially allow their exploitation (P. Develey in litt. 2013).

Conservation actions and research proposed
Conduct repeat surveys across its range to clarify population size and magnitude of declines. Campaign for the protection of remaining tracts of coastal mangrove throughout its range.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Buteogallus aequinoctialis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22695808A93528791. . Downloaded on 23 April 2018.
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