Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris)


French: Buse à gros bec German: Wegebussard Spanish: Busardo caminero

Falco magnirostris

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,



No obvious close relatives. Has been thought to be closely allied to Buteo plagiatus, B. nitidus, B. ridgwayi and B. lineatus, all of which may be more closely tied to Leucopternis than to Buteo. Many further races have been described, several of which are recognized by some authors: griseocauda includes argutus, direptor, xantusi and petersi; nominate magnirostris includes insidiatrix and ecuadoriensis; occiduus includes inca; and race pucherani includes gularis. Twelve subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • R. m. griseocauda (Ridgway, 1874) – Mexico (S from Colima, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, except Yucatán and Tabasco) S to NW Costa Rica and W Panama (Bocas del Toro).
  • R. m. conspectus J. L. Peters, 1913 – SE Mexico (Tabasco and Yucatán Peninsula) and N Belize.
  • R. m. gracilis Ridgway, 1885 – Cozumel I and Holbox I, off NE Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico).
  • R. m. sinushonduri (J. Bond, 1936) – Roatán I and Bonacca I, off Honduras.
  • R. m. petulans (van Rossem, 1935) – SW Costa Rica and Pacific slope of W Panama to R Tuira, and adjacent islands.
  • R. m. alius J. L. Peters & Griscom, 1929 – San José and San Miguel, in Pearl Is (Gulf of Panama).
  • R. m. magnirostris (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – Colombia S to W Ecuador, E to Venezuela and the Guianas, thence S to Amazonian Brazil (R Madeira E to Atlantic coast).
  • R. m. occiduus Bangs, 1911 – E Peru, W Brazil (S of Amazon, W of R Madeira) and N Bolivia.
  • R. m. saturatus (P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1876) – Bolivia through Paraguay and SW Brazil (SW Mato Grosso) to NC Argentina (S to La Rioja).
  • R. m. nattereri (P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1869) – NE Brazil S to Bahia.
  • R. m. magniplumis (A. W. Bertoni, 1901) – S Brazil, NE Argentina (Misiones) and adjacent Paraguay.
  • R. m. pucherani (J. P. Verreaux & J. B. É. Verreaux, 1855) – NE Argentina (S to Buenos Aires Province) and Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    33–41 cm; male 239–246 g, female 263–315 g (griseocauda), male 206–290 g, female 257–350 g (magnirostris), both sexes 215... read more


    One of the more vocal raptors, especially during courtship and aerial displays, with both sexes... read more


    Very catholic in taste: quite common in most lowland tropical to subtropical habitats, except... read more

    Food and feeding

    Highly opportunistic. Mainly insects (beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, bees, ants, centipedes, cicadas, scorpions), spiders, reptiles,... read more


    Nesting late Mar–May (middle to late dry season) in Petén (Guatemala), where young fledged in Jun–Jul (exceptionally... read more


    Virtually no evidence of any movements, but there are eight records from lower Rio Grande Valley of... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Widespread and generally very common; commonest hawk in wide variety of habitats throughout much of extensive range, e.g.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris). 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 1 April 2020).