(or Accipitriformes, q.v.)
Ridgway's hawk (Buteo ridgwayi) is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, native to the island of Hispaniola. Despite its common name, this bird is a Buteo buzzard and not a true Accipiter hawk. 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, and it is now only found in the Los Haitises National Park in the Dominican Republic and is regarded 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.
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 bird is critically endangered due to clearance of its forest habitat and persecution by local farmers, who do not like that the species preys upon their domestic fowl. People have claimed they do not feed on chickens, but the Ridgway's Hawk has a highly varied prey base, even though reptiles may 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 Preservation Trust Canada. Threatened Species of the Dominican Republic Progress Report 2005.