Species Data

Class: Aves

Order: Accipitriformes

Family: Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Pseudastur occidentalis

IUCN Red List status: Endangered

IUCN Species Range Map



This large bird of prey has clean white underparts, a dark grey back and wings and a streaked head. Its white tail shows a thick black band near the tip, which is particularly visible in flight.



The Gray-backed hawk has a varied diet, consisting of lizards, small birds and mammals. In display flights, one bird will dive almost vertically for several hundred metres.

A perched Gray-backed Hawk in Buenaventura reserve, Ecuador. ©Francisco Sornoza
A view of Buenaventura Reserve, Ecuador ©Andrew Smiley


Dry and semi-humid forest areas, occasionally wandering into wetter habitats. It is found in Ecuador and northern Peru.


Threats and Conservation

Gray-backed hawks suffer from the logging of their forest habitats, for commercial forestry and to make way for cattle ranching and agricultural operations. The population is declining and there are believed to be less than 1,000 individuals left.


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IUCN Red List