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Gray Hawk – Reflections of the Natural World

  • Scientific Name: Buteo plagiatus
  • Name in Spanish (Mexico): Aguililla Gris
  • Name in Mayan: Sak ch’uuy
  • ABA 4-Letter Bird Code: GRHA*
  • Family: Accipitridae -Hawks, Eagles, and Kites
  • Order: Accipitriformes – Diurnal Birds of Prey
Gray Hawk Image © Jim Gain

About this Bird

The Gray Hawk (Buteo plagiatus) is a medium-sized bird of prey found throughout Central and South America, including Belize. The Gray Hawk is easily recognizable by its distinctive gray plumage, dark wingtips, and long, barred tail. They have a wingspan of about 3 feet and weigh up to 2 pounds. They mainly feed on small mammals, reptiles, and birds and build their nests high in the forest canopy.

Gray Hawk Immature Image © Jim Gain

The Gray Hawk can be seen all year round in Belize and inhabits a range of habitats, including forests, savannas, and mangroves. They are frequently spotted scouring the ground for prey when perched atop trees, poles, and wires. The Gray Hawk constructs a sizable stick nest in the canopy during breeding season and lays one to three eggs, which are then incubated for roughly a month.

Gray Hawk Image © Jim Gain

Despite their wide range and relatively common status, the Gray Hawk’s population has declined in some areas due to habitat loss and hunting. They are protected under Belizean law, and conservation efforts are underway to protect their nesting sites and ensure their long-term survival.

Gray Hawk Image © Jim Gain

>> Next Post on Friday, 4/14/2023 – Ruddy Woodcreeper

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