White-breasted Hawk (Accipiter chionogaster)

White-breasted Hawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Accipiter chionogaster | [authority] Kaup, 1852 | [UK] White-breasted Hawk | [FR] epervier a poitrine blanche | [DE] Weissbrustsperber | [ES] Gavilan Ventriblanco | [NL] Witborstsperwer


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Accipiter chionogaster MA s Mexico to Nicaragua


Members of the genus Butastur are medium-sized hawks, with long and pointed wings, and a medium length tail. The bill is rather weak, the basal portion and cere being brightly coloured. The legs are relatively short and reticulate, with a row of larger scales down the front. The colour pattern is subdued, rufous brown, grey and whitish. The young are not very different from adults. Butastur is found in Africa and tropical Asia. The four species form a super-species; though there may be some overlap between two of them. One nests in Japan and north Asia, but is highly migratory.

Physical charateristics

Dark grey almost black upperparts; Brest and belly white with delicate streaks on feathers of chin, throat and upper breast. Thighs with some rufous, tail dark with broad grey bands. Eexcept for tail it seems two-colored like congener bicolored hawk. It is however, paler than the latter. It is generally easily recognized by its white underparts. Juv. Bicoloured Hawk, juv. Barred Forest Falcon and Collared Forest Falcon generally occur below the altitude of chionogaster, and they have whitish or buff nuchal collars. Juv. Double-toothed Kite and certain Buteo hawks (e.g. Short-tailed Hawk) may show a vaguely similar pattern, but are very differently shaped.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 28 cm size max.: 32 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


Middle America : South Mexico to Nicaragua


Occurs in middle and montane elevations, mostly in pine-oak woodlands, but occasionally in broad-leafed cloud forest, montane rainforest, or semi-open areas, primarily above 600-900 m


The species has a long breeding period there, with pairs becoming established in October and nest construction occurring mainly in December. Eggs are laid in March, and the chicks fledge in June and remain in the vicinity of the nest into July. No further detail

Feeding habits

The main food of White-breasted Hawks is small to medium sized birds, though larger species (up to the size of Band-tailed Pigeon) are also taken. Species identified to date include: Band-tailed Pigeon, Barred Ant-Shrike; Brown-backed Solitaire, White-winged Dove, Black-throated Green Warbler, Rufous-naped Wren, Swainson?s Thrush, Magnolia Warbler and Cley-coloured Thrush. It has been hard to identify many of the kills directly, so most of these identifications were made from feathers found at plucking posts near the nest.


This taxon is Not Recognised as a species by BirdLife International.


Probably non-migratory

Distribution map

White-breasted Hawk distribution range map

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