Buteo galapagoensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Buteo galapagoensis (Gould, 1837)
Common Name(s):
English Galapagos Hawk, Galápagos Hawk
Spanish Busardo de Galápagos, Gavilán de Galapagos
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Identification information: 55 cm. Large, dark hawk. Adult sooty-brown. Grey tail with narrow black bars. Immature browner with extensive white and buff mottling.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Cruz, F., Vargas, H., Wiedenfeld, D. & de Vries, T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., McClellan, R., Sharpe, C.J., Symes, A., Derhé, M.
This species is listed as Vulnerable because it has a small population. Trends are not clear, but are assumed to be stable. If threats, notably persecution, were shown to be causing a decline, this species would warrant uplisting to Endangered.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Buteo galapagoensis was apparently once common on most of the main islands of the Galápagos, Ecuador. The population is difficult to measure except in terms of breeding territories, of which 130 were estimated in the early 1970s (de Vries 1973). Following a serious population decline, it is now extinct on five islands, and present on Santiago (c.50 territories), Española (10), Isabela (c.25), Fernandina (10), Pinta (12-15), Marchena (5), Pinzón (5) and Santa Fe (17) (de Vries 1973). Recent records of single birds on Santa Cruz are presumed to be stragglers from other islands (T. de Vries in litt. 2000, 2007), although the possibility of there being a very small population there has not been ruled out (D. Wiedenfeld in litt. 2012). The breeding system means that the population is larger than the number of territories suggests, for example, the population on Santiago may number 180 adults in the 50 territories, with a total of c.250 individuals (Faaborg 1984). The total population may number 400-500 adults and 300-400 juveniles (T. de Vries in litt. 2000, 2007).

Countries occurrence:
Ecuador (Galápagos)
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:29600
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:6-10Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1700
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population is estimated to number 400-500 individuals, roughly equivalent to 270-330 mature individuals (T. de Vries in litt. 2000).

Trend Justification:  The population is thought to be stable although the very small breeding range of the species renders it susceptible to human persecution and predation by invasive species.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:270-330Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:9Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:1-89

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is found in all habitats, from shoreline to bare lava-fields, open, rocky, scrub country, deciduous forests and mountain peaks. It feeds on a wide variety of sea and landbirds, rats, lizards, iguanas, invertebrates and carrion. It breeds throughout the year. It nests on a stick platform on a prominent lava outflow, rocky outcrop or in a small tree (Thiollay 1994). It is cooperatively polyandrous, with one female typically mating with two or three males (up to eight males have been recorded), and all males helping in raising the chicks (Faaborg et al. 1995). Genetic research indicates there is little movement between island populations (Bollmer et al. 2005).

Systems:Terrestrial; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):9.7
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The most probable cause of the species's historical decline is persecution by humans (de Vries 1973), which still continues on Santa Cruz and south Isabela (H. Vargas and F. Cruz in litt. 2000) but is now a fairly uncommon practice elsewhere (D. Wiedenfeld in litt. 2012). The largest island, Isabela, may support a comparatively small population owing to competition for food with introduced feral cats and other predators (de Vries 1973). Similar scenarios may have been partly responsible for the local extinctions. Lack of genetic diversity (Bollmer et al. 2005) has been suggested as a potential threat, and it has led to increased parasite loads and vulnerability to disease in certain island populations (Whiteman et al. 2006), but the species has never had a large effective population size so this is unlikely to become a major threat to the species now (D. Wiedenfeld in litt. 2007). The removal of goats and pigs from Santiago may reduce habitat for non-breeding individuals as vegetation recovers (T. de Vries in litt. 2000, 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Most of the archipelago is under national park and marine reserve protection and, in 1979, was declared a World Heritage Site. The species has been protected by Ecuadorian law since 1959 (de Vries 1973). The possibility of reintroduction to previously inhabited islands has been discussed (de Vries 1984, Faaborg 1984), but advised against as prey-supply may have declined, and the effects may be detrimental to other threatened species (de Vries 1984). Ecological research is ongoing and will result in detailed information on each island population (T. de Vries in litt. 2000, 2007). A study on natal dispersal collected from 1998 to 2009 from a banded population of 25 territorial groups (Rivera et al. 2011). Rats were eradicated from Rábida, Bartolomé and Bainbridge #3 islands in 2011.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor the population. Minimise illegal persecution.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Buteo galapagoensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22695909A93533926. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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