Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)


Galapagos Hawk (Buteo galapagoensis)


French: Buse des Galapagos German: Galapagosbussard Spanish: Busardo de Galápagos

Polyborus galapagoensis


, 1837,

Galapagos Archipelago


A member of the B. brachyurus clade (which see). Formerly thought to be most closely related to Geranoaetus albicaudatus. Several recent molecular studies, however, indicate that present species and B. swainsoni are sister-taxa#R#R#R#R; diverged only very recently from B. swainsoni and colonized Galapagos Is through a single event#R. Recent analyses revealed that galapagoensis had highest levels of genetic uniformity found in any natural bird population, with degree of uniformity strongly influenced by island size, and high levels of genetic similarity between geographically proximate island populations#R. Monotypic.


Galapagos Is.

Descriptive notes

45–56 cm; male 844–1137 g, female 1223–1578 g; wingspan 116–140 cm. Medium-sized raptor with long, broad wings and longish tail. Sooty brown overall,... read more


Gives short, high-pitched screams that vary from sounding more slurred to others that are more... read more


All island habitats from shoreline to barren lava fields, open areas, closed deciduous forest (... read more

Food and feeding

As the only diurnal raptor in Galapagos, it is not surprisingly a broad generalist. Most important prey types are rodents (mostly... read more


Recorded at various times of year; may not possess well-defined breeding season, instead being linked to weather patterns, though peak... read more


Sedentary, although a juvenile is known to have wandered between Isabela and Fernandina. Recent... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. CITES II. Has small population, spread over eight islands of Galapagos Archipelago. Total population uncertain and hard to gauge, but according to BirdLife... read more

Recommended citation

Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Kirwan, G.M. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Galapagos Hawk (Buteo galapagoensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 February 2020).