Ridgway's hawk (Buteo ridgwayi) is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, native to the island of Hispaniola. It was named after the American ornithologist Robert Ridgway. It is a brownish-grey bird with barred tail and underparts. It feeds mainly on reptiles, but also consumes small birds and mammals. It nests high in a tree in spring. Populations of this bird have been declining because of habitat destruction and human persecution in the Dominican Republic and is classified as "critically endangered".
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 claim that the species preys upon their domestic fowl. Conservationists have countered that poultry is nothing more than a minor element of their diet, but dubiety the claim can be found in that the Ridgway's Hawk has a highly varied prey base, 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. It is thought the population has been reduced to nothing more than around 400 individuals. The only known surviving redoubt is the Los Haitises National Park and the surrounding wilderness of the North-Western Dominican Republic.
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 Preservation Trust Canada. Threatened Species of the Dominican Republic Progress Report 2005.