(or Accipitriformes, q.v.)
Ridgway's Hawk (Buteo ridgwayi) is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes the eagles, hawks and Old World vultures. Despite the name, this bird is a Buteo buzzard and not a true Accipiter hawk.
The Ridgway's Hawk's original breeding range included Haiti and the Dominican Republic (which make up the island of Hispaniola) and some of the adjacent isles and keys. As of 2006, its only known population resides within Los Haitises National Park in the northeastern Dominican Republic, which is mostly covered by wet limestone forest.
This is a medium-sized, compact hawk, 36–41 cm long. The adult has brown-grey upperparts, greyish barred underparts with a reddish-brown wash, rufous-tinged thighs and a black-and-white barred tail. The male is greyer than the female. The legs and base of bill are yellow.
This bird is critically endangered due to clearance of its forest habitat and persecution by local farmers, who erroneously believe the species preys on domestic fowl, even though reptiles comprise up to 90% of its diet. It has an estimated population of 80–120 pairs, making it, along with the Bay-breasted Cuckoo (Coccyzus rufigularis), the most threatened bird of Hispaniola.
This bird is named after the ornithologist Robert Ridgway.
- Sociedad Ornitológica de la Hispaniola. Proyecto de Educación para la Conservación del Gavilán de la Hispaniola. Retrieved on 6 February 2007.
- The Peregrine Fund. West Indies Project—Conservation Projects. Retrieved on 6 February 2007. Detailed info of on-going field studies.
- Wildlife Conservation Canada. Threatened Species of the Dominican Republic Progress Report 2005.
- BirdLife Species Factsheet.
- Ridgway's Hawk videos, images and sounds on the Internet Bird Collection