Grey-bellied Hawk (Accipiter poliogaster)

Grey-bellied Hawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Accipiter poliogaster | [authority] Temminck, 1824 | [UK] Grey-bellied Hawk | [FR] Autour a ventre gris | [DE] Graubauch-Habicht | [ES] Azor Ventrigris | [NL] Zuidamerikaanse Havik


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Accipiter poliogaster SA n, c, se


Members of the genus Accipiter are small and medium-sized hawks, often called Sparrow-hawks or Goshawks. The females are almost invariably much larger than the males – in some cases weighing twice as much – a level of size dimorphism only exceptionally reached in any other genus Falconiformes. Their wings are short and rounded; the tail usually quite long. They are well adapted for flying through dense bush. Bird-catching Sparrow-hawks generally have long and slender legs, with slender digits, the middle one being especially long. Goshawks are usually larger, with shorter, thicker tarsi and digits and a shorter middle digit. Some smaller species have goshawk-like feet and vice versa, making it difficult on a world-wide basis to subdivide the genus on this or any other broad basis. Although many accipiters feed upon birds moreso than do other hawks, some species take many mammals, especially squirrels; others take lizards, frogs, snakes, insects, even snails. In these species the legs and digits are sometimes slender, but short. Accipiters are rarely crested, but some have very attractive colour patterns. Black phases are present, especially in the tropical species. One in Australia has the only pure white phase. Accipiter is the largest genus in the family, having about fifty species. It is present worldwide, but is especially rich in Papua-New Guinea, where a small island like New Britain may have three to five endemic species or distinct sub-species.

Physical charateristics

Black crown and back, side of head grey or black; tail barred with black stripes and a white tip. Underparts light grey, underwings unbarred, throat and white, Iris, legs and feet yellow.

wingspan min.: 69 cm wingspan max.: 84 cm
size min.: 43 cm size max.: 50 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


South America : North, Central, Southeast


Rain forest up to 500 meter. Also edges and patches of woodland.


No data

Feeding habits

No data, probably birds and medium sized reptiles and mammals.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Very rare species in Suriname, with only two records from 1852 and a few loose observations in the interior. No nests or breeding behavior ever recorded.
Grey-bellied Hawk status Least Concern


Thought to be migratory, at least in extreme South of range. Colombian records may all refer to austral migrants, as all during period March-June. Transition between presumed migratory and resident populations unknown.

Distribution map

Grey-bellied Hawk distribution range map

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