Ridgways Hawk (Buteo ridgwayi)

Ridgways Hawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Buteo ridgwayi | [authority] Cory, 1883 | [UK] Ridgways Hawk | [FR] Buse de Ridgway | [DE] Haitibussard | [ES] Busardo de la Espanola | [NL] Ridgway’s Buizerd


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Buteo ridgwayi NA Hispaniola


Members of the genus Buteo are broad-winged, broad-tailed hawks, Well adapted for soaring. The bill, legs and talons are of average proportions. There is much colour variation both within the species, and, by way of phases, within individual species. In all cases the young are quite different from adults in that they are all well camouflaged with an overall brown appearance with varying amounts of striping below and paler mottling above.
The 25 species are spread worldwide with the exception of Australasia and much of the Indian sub-continent.

Physical charateristics

Medium-sized, compact hawk. Adult has brown-grey upperparts, greyish barred underparts with reddish-brown wash, rufous thighs and black-and-white barred tail. White crescent-shaped wing panels or “windows” visible during flight are diagnostic. Male slightly smaller (330-350g) than female (360-420g). Male is greyer than female and has rufous carpal area (paler rufous in female). Female also paler below and more barred. Immature has buffy white underparts with grey and brown streaks, and less well marked tail. Red-tailed Hawk B. jamaicensis is larger and adults have reddish tail.

Listen to the sound of Ridgways Hawk

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/ACCIPITRIFORMES/Accipitridae/sounds/Ridgways Hawk.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 35 cm size max.: 40 cm
incubation min.: 28 days incubation max.: 29 days
fledging min.: 48 days fledging max.: 54 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


North America : Hispaniola. It occurs in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the adjacent Haitan islands of Gonave, Grande Cayamite, Ile-a-Vache (where apparently extinct) and Beata. It was formerly widespread, but has declined steeply and is now rare, with less than 100 individuals estimated in 2003. There have been very few recent records outside Los Haitises National Park, north-east Dominican Republic. It may be most abundant on the offshore islands at Los Haitises, but even this population has declined since the early 1980s. Individuals and even a nest were found in the Sierra de Baoruco in 1997, but this population is apparently dwindling.


It occurs up to 2,000 m in a variety of undisturbed forest-types including rainforest, subtropical dry and moist forests, pine forest and limestone karst forest, and is occasionally seen in secondary and agricultural habitats.


Display flights begin in January, occurring most often between 1000-1200 h, and nest building, done mostly by the male, begins in late February. The nest is a platform of sticks placed high in a tree or palm in dense vegetation. Clutch size is 1-3 eggs (usually 2), which are chalky cream and heavily marked with orange-red mottling. The female performs most all of the incubation, with the male participating to a lesser extent. In one study, males captured 91% of prey brought to the nests.

Feeding habits

Prey consists primarily of lizards, snakes and frogs. Hawks will occasionally prey on small mammals (bats and rodents), centipedes and small birds

Video Ridgways Hawk


copyright: David Ascanio


This species is considered Critically Endangered because it has an extremely small and fragmented population, which continues to decline. Only effective protection of Los Haitises National Park and captive breeding and release are likely to save this species from extinction.
Ongoing monitoring at Los Limones in the east of Los Haitises National Park shows a 5-10% annual decline in the number of individuals at this site, equating to a decline over ten years of 40-65%. Declines in the west of the park are expected to be continuing at a similar, although perhaps slower rate, hence overall rates of decline are perhaps best estimated to fall within the band 30-50% over ten years. However, forest clearance within the park boundary remains rapid with an annual loss of c.10-15%, thus careful monitoring is a priority and it may reveal that a higher rate of decline is occurring
Ridgways Hawk status Critically Endangered



Distribution map

Ridgways Hawk distribution range map

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