Hawaiian Hawk

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Hawaiian Name: ‘lo
Common Name: Hawaiian Hawk
Scientific Name: Buteo solitarius

Size: 16-18 inches (40-46 cm); Wingspan: 37-41 inches (95-103 cm)

Habitat: Oceania; endemic to Hawai`i in the Hawaiian Islands with vagrants recorded on Maui, O'ahu and Kaua'i.

It occurs in a broad range of habitats up to 2,700 m, from lowland agricultural areas to all types of forest.

Status: Near Threatened to Endangered. Global population: 1,100 adult individuals. While the current population is stable, continuing threats include the conversion of land used for pasture and sugar-cane to eucalyptus plantations, residential development in extensive areas of subdivided land, mainly in the Puna District, forest clearance for agricultural and other developments, logging, repeated nest disturbance, perhaps road-kills and the very significant threat caused by the introduction of ungulates that degrade native forests and inhibit their regeneration, which facilitates the spread of exotic plants that then out-compete remaining native plants. Most successful nesting of the Hawaiian Hawk is confined to higher elevation native forest with 'ohi'a trees. But this nesting habitat in particular has been reduced due to competition from exotic plants. Formerly it suffered extensively from shooting and may come into conflict with future efforts to reintroduce the Critically Endangered Hawaiian Crow (Corvus hawaiiensis) and other endangered songbirds, which it preys upon.

It benefits from some anthropogenic changes, for example, it feeds on introduced game-birds, passerines and rodents, and uses edge habitat around sugar-cane fields and orchards for hunting.

The species is protected as an endangered species in the United States. However, the IUCN classifies the species as Near Threatened.

Diet: Rats, small birds, stream animals, crickets, praying mantises, millipedes, centipedes, lizards, and occasionally worms. It also fed on the Hawaiian crow, which is now extinct in the wild.

The ʻIo usually hunts from a stationary position, but can also dive on prey from the air.

Nesting: While sexes are alike, females are noticeably larger than males. Two color phases exist: a dark phase (dark brown head, breast, and underwings), and a light color phase (dark head, light breast and light underwings). Feet and legs are yellowish in adults and greenish in juveniles. During breeding season one of the pair, possibly the female, has a distinctive yellow forecap area just above the upper mandible.

The most successful nesting is restricted to native `ohi`a trees (Metrosideros polymorpha), which are slow growing and generally in decline.

They nest from March through September, and usually lay only one egg but sometimes they could lay up to three in their clutch. The female does the majority of sitting during the 38 days of incubation, while the male does the majority of the hunting. After the egg is hatched, the female only allows the male to visit when delivering food to the nest. The chick fledges at seven or eight weeks. Parents feed nestlings with mostly mammalian and avian prey.

Cool Facts: The Hawaiian hawk was a royal symbol in Hawaiian legend, and it is sometimes called “ʻiolani,” or “exalted hawk”, which was the name of Kamehameha IV and the ʻIolani Palace.

The adaptation of the Hawaiian hawk is that their body colors blend within trees and plants, and they have big talons to catch fish.

This 3D model is found in Songbird ReMix Birds of Prey Volume III: Hawks of the New World

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