Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Grey-lined Hawk (Buteo nitidus)


French: Buse cendrée German: Zweibindenbussard Spanish: Busardo gris meridional
Other common names: Grey Hawk (when lumped with B. plagiatus)

Falco nitidus


, 1790,



This species and B. plagiatus 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, commonly considered conspecific with B. plagiatus, which 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); and longer call, without sudden drop in pitch in middle of note (2, perhaps 3)#R. N race blakei previously known as costaricensis, but latter name invalid, as preoccupied (by B. jamaicensis costaricensis). Three subspecies usually recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. n. blakei Hellmayr & Conover, 1949 – SW Costa Rica to N Colombia and W Ecuador, also extreme NW Peru (N Tumbes)#R#R.
  • B. n. nitidus (Latham, 1790) – E Colombia, SE Ecuador and E Peru E to Venezuela, Trinidad#R and the Guianas, and through Amazonian Brazil to N Maranhão.
  • B. n. pallidus (Todd, 1915) – E Bolivia and C Brazil (Mato Grosso to Piauí and Rio de Janeiro) S to Paraguay and N Argentina (S to Tucumán and N Santa Fe).
  • Descriptive notes

    38–46 cm; male 350–497 g, female 320–592 g; wingspan 75–94 cm. Grey overall, with fine dark grey barring above and bolder white barring below; tail... read more


    There are two primary vocalizations: a series of 3–8 piping notes used primarily during the... read more


    Adaptable, found in lowland tropical to subtropical zones in rain forest edge, disturbed forest and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly lizards and small snakes; birds, including small species of both understorey and canopy, and a parakeet (Aratinga); also... read more


    Nesting not as well studied for present species as for B. plagiatus. Reported to nest from Dec–Jul in Costa Rica; Jan–... read more


    Generally considered sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. No hard data on numbers or population trends, but generally considered widespread, locally common to relatively numerous,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Boesman, P. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Grey-lined Hawk (Buteo nitidus). 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 25 May 2019).