Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Grey Hawk (Buteo plagiatus)


French: Buse grise German: Graubussard Spanish: Busardo gris norteño

Asturina plagiata


, 1862,

Veracruz, Mexico


This species and B. nitidus sometimes placed in Asturina, partly because of distinctive moult pattern. Probably closest to B. ridgwayi and B. lineatus; previously considered to form a clade with these and Rupornis magnirostris, but latter found to be basal to all buteos#R#R#R, and this group may be more closely allied to Leucopternis than to Buteo. Until recently was commonly considered conspecific with B. nitidus, but differs in its plain vs barred grey crown, nape, back and wings (3); uppertail-coverts white vs grey with white tips, resulting in bold vs narrow white band on base of uppertail (2); longer call, without sudden drop in pitch in middle of note (2, perhaps 3)#R. Monotypic.


SW USA (SE Arizona and S Texas) to NW Costa Rica.

Descriptive notes

41–44 cm; male 391–470 g, female 552–688 g, wingspan 89 cm. Intermediate in shape between typical Buteo and Accipiter, with fairly short... read more


The two main vocalizations are a series of 3–8 piping notes used mostly during the breeding... read more


At N end of nesting range in Arizona, USA, commonest in riparian cottonwoods (Populus spp... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds almost exclusively on vertebrates, especially reptiles such as whiptail lizards (Cnemidophorus spp.), spiny lizards (... read more


Eggs laid in early Apr in Oaxaca, Mexico, mostly in May in Arizona and Texas; young fledge in Jul and Aug in Arizona. Courtship includes... read more


Populations migratory in Arizona, SW Texas and NW Mexico and probably mostly resident elsewhere,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Uncommon and local in SW USA, with estimated total population in late 1990s of c. 80 pairs in Arizona and 10 pairs in Texas... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Grey Hawk (Buteo plagiatus). 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 19 February 2020).