Description of the Galapagos hawk
The Galapagos hawk (Buteo galapagoensis) is a species of raptor endemic to the Galapagos Islands. It measures about 1.5 to 1.85 feet in length and has a wingspan of about 3.7 to 4.4 feet. It has a similar appearance to the common buzzards, with a massive body, broad wings and dark brown feathers. The Galapagos Hawk's head and neck are dark brown, with white feathers around the base of the bill and throat. The wings are also marked with white feathers, while the tail is barred with dark and white bands.
The Galapagos Hawk is a carnivorous predator, feeding mainly on small animals such as lizards, iguanas, mice and land birds. It can also feed on carrion or food waste left by humans. It is considered critically endangered due to loss of natural habitat and predation by introduced animals such as cats and rats, which were introduced to the islands by humans. Conservation programs are in place to protect this vulnerable species, including invasive species removal and population monitoring.
When to see them?
Galapagos hawks are most easily observed during the cooler, drier months of the year, between June and December, when the birds are more active foraging and visibility conditions are better. In particular, the months of June through August are often considered the best months for raptor viewing, as days are clearer and temperatures are cooler. It is important to note that weather conditions and ocean currents can vary considerably from year to year, which can affect the behavior of Galapagos hawks and their visibility.
Where to observe them?
The Galapagos hawk is present in almost all the islands of the archipelago, but it is more easily observed on some islands: On the island of Santa Cruz, the Galapagos hawk is often seen in the arid hills and valleys of the Galapagos National Park. It can also be seen in the coastal areas of San Cristobal Island, in the areas around Puerto Chino and Cerro Colorado. Isabela Island, home to Wolf Volcano, is another place where Galapagos hawks can be observed in their natural habitat.