Cuban Black Hawk (Buteogallus gundlachii)

Cuban Black Hawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Buteogallus gundlachii | [authority] Cabanis, 1855 | [UK] Cuban Black Hawk | [FR] Buse noire de Cuba | [DE] Kubanische Krabbenbussard | [ES] Busardo negro cubano | [NL] Cubaanse Buizerd


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Buteogallus gundlachii NA Cuba


Members of the genus Buteogallus are small to quite large hawks. Their wings are short to medium in length; broad and rounded; the tail is of medium length. They have coarse, heavy, rather long legs. The lores and adjacent areas are naked to varying degrees. Some feathers on the crown and nape are pointed, forming a slight crest. Adults are blackish with a white banded tail and often with some rufous in wing and (in one species) body plumage. Immature plumage is very different from adult.
The genus is present from south-western United States to Argentina, including the islands of Cuba and St Vincent. There are five species.

Physical charateristics

Small, stocky-bodied grebe with a short, thin bill and
Yellow eyes. Dark plumage, darker on the crown and back
White undertail coverts. Feet set far back on body and trail awkwardly behind body in flight. Sexes similar.

wingspan min.: 48 cm wingspan max.: 53 cm
size min.: 23 cm size max.: 25 cm
incubation min.: 21 days incubation max.: 22 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 22 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


North America : Cuba


Habitats include fresh and brackish water, from small ponds to lakes, ditches, marshes and slower moving parts of rivers.


Multi-brooded, will nest in any season if conditions are suitable. Lays 3 to 6 blue-white eggs that become nest staiined. Builds a foating nest of vegetation anchored to reeds. Incubation about 21 days.

Feeding habits

Eats aquatic insects, small fish, tadpoles, snails, and above water insects. Like all grebes, also eat their own feathers, which may protect the gastrointestinal track from sharp fish bones.


This species has been classified as Near Threatened because although it can be locally common, it has a specialised habitat and consequently a moderately small range which is likely to be contracting owing to drainage and other forms of wetland destruction. However, given the dispersal capabilities of large raptors, the habitat and population is unlikely to be severely fragmented or restricted to few locations.
Very local, mainly in subtropical parts of the Americas. It may favour small temporary waters which lack predatory fish. It also occurs in swamps, shallow lakes, or oxbows, often almost overgrown with floating vegetation.
The least grebe is rare in freshwater swamps in Suriname near the coast. Birds have also been found in ponds or rivers farther in to the interior.
Cuban Black Hawk status Near Threatened


Sedentary except in far North (Argentina). Dispersive during dry season, known to colonize suitable habitat quickly.

Distribution map

Cuban Black Hawk distribution range map

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