Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Accipiter gundlachi
Species Authority: Lawrence, 1860
Common Name(s):
English Gundlach's Hawk
Spanish Gavilán Cubano
Accipiter gundlachii gundlachii Collar and Andrew (1988)
Accipiter gundlachii gundlachii Collar et al. (1994)
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Identification information: 43-51 cm. Medium-sized, stocky forest raptor. Adult, dark blue-grey upperparts with blackish cap, and barred rufous underparts. Immature, brown above, paler below, but with dark streaking. Rounded tail in flight. Similar spp. Sharp-shinned Hawk A. striatus is smaller and has squared tail in flight. Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus is broader-winged and -tailed, and chunkier. Voice Loud kek-kek-kek ....

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Kirkconnell, A. & Mitchell, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D. & Khwaja, N.
This species is considered Endangered owing to its very small and severely fragmented population, which has continued to decline until very recently. However, trends appear to have stabilised or even reversed over the last five years, and if this is confirmed the species may warrant downlisting to Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Endangered (EN)
2004 Endangered (EN)
2000 Endangered (EN)
1996 Endangered (EN)
1994 Endangered (EN)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Accipiter gundlachi has never been common, but formerly occurred throughout Cuba. It is now very rare and local, with five main population centres known to remain. The total population was estimated at 150-200 pairs in 1994. There are three centres for the nominate race in west and central Cuba, but two of these held only three and 20 pairs respectively in 1994. There are two further areas important for the race wileyi in the east of the island, where the bulk of the population resides. Sightings around Pico Turquino are scarce, but a bird was seen on the north slopes of the Sierra Maestra in early 1999 (Rompré et al. 2000).

Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:12700
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population is estimated to number c.400 individuals, equivalent to c.270 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  There are no new data on trends; however, the species is suspected to still be slowly declining, owing mainly to habitat loss and persecution.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:270Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Yes
No. of subpopulations:5Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is found up to 800 m in a variety of wooded habitats including humid, dry and pine forests (Bierregaard 1994a). It preys mostly on birds, including poultry. The breeding season is February-May, with young fledging by June (Bierregaard 1994a, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 1999). The nest is generally placed close to the trunk of a high tree, but below the canopy.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):7.2
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss and disturbance as a result of logging and agricultural conversion, and human persecution (because it preys on poultry) have been the chief causes of its  decline (A. Kirkconnell in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Populations occur within the Sierra Maestra and Sierra del Cristal national parks. Environmental education has grown in Cuba in recent years (A. Kirkconnell in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey Pinar del Río province and the Zapata swamp, and re-survey areas in eastern Cuba to determine current populations and assess trends. Further define the species's ecological requirements. Conduct education and public awareness campaigns to highlight the plight of the bird and discourage human persecution (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.7. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:No
4. Education & awareness -> 4.1. Formal education
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.3. Persecution/control
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Bierregaard, R. O. 1994. Neotropical Accipitridae (Hawks and Eagles). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 52-205. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2012).

Rompré, G.; Aubry, Y.; Kirkconnell, A. 2000. Recent observations of threatened birds in eastern Cuba. Cotinga 13: 66.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Accipiter gundlachi. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22695659A38167167. . Downloaded on 10 October 2015.
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