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Gray-lined Hawk - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 21:11, 7 October 2018 by Deliatodd-18346 (talk | contribs) (Clearer nominate image. Expanded some text to fit images in)
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Subspecies nitidus
Photo © by rka
Kernaham, Trinidad, October 2018
Buteo nitidus


Immature subspecies blakei
Photo © by luis jelenszky
La Mesa, Panama, September 2005

38–46 cm (15-18 in)

  • Gray and white barred underparts
  • Broadly white-banded black tail

Similar Species

Very similar to Gray Hawk and their ranges may be adjacent or overlapping in Costa Rica.


From southwest-most Costa Rica, through Panama and most of lowland North and Central South America, as far south as South West Ecuador on the Pacific coast and North Argentina east of the Andes.


Gray Hawk, Buteo plagiatus, was formerly considered conspecific with this species. The common name for the species was Gray Hawk then.

Asturina vs. Buteo

Formerly placed in the monotypic genus Asturina. Riesing et al. (2003) presented genetic data indicating that Asturina is nested within Buteo. This reclassification is supported by virtually all authorities since then: Banks et al. (2006), AOU (2006 supplement), Clements (2007), SACC (2006). The Opus follows in this consensus.


Juvenile, subspecies nitidus
Photo © by rka
Aranguez, Trinidad, October 2018

There are 3 subspecies[1]:

  • B. n. blakei (formerly costaricensis):
  • B. n. nitidus:
  • B. n. pallidus:


Subspecies blakei
Photo © by Glen Tepke
Old Gamboa Road, Panama, January 2004

Woodland and forest, but sometimes in more open habitats with scattered trees. Mainly in lowlands, but locally up to 1800 m (5900 ft). Generally fairly common, but rarer in its limited US range.



Feeds on a wide range of small animals, mostly reptiles, but also birds, rodents and insects.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2012. IOC World Bird Names (version 3.2). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
  3. Birdforum thread discussing the taxonomy of Gray Hawk
  4. Birdforum thread discussing AOU proposals including one to split Gray Hawk in two parts
  5. Paper describing the differences between Gray Hawk and Gray-lined Hawk

Recommended Citation

External Links