Hawaiian Hawk

Hawaiian Hawk

‘Io, ʻIolani, Exalted hawk

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Buteo solitarius
Population size
1,100
Life Span
17 yrs
WEIGHT
441-605 g
LENGTH
40-46 cm

Hawaiian hawks are graceful birds of prey native to Hawai'i. They exist in two color phases: 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.

Distribution

Hawaiian hawks are found in Hawaii, where they breed only on the Big Island. They live in different habitats, from tropical moist forest to agricultural areas.

Geography

Continents
Countries
Regions

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Hawaiian hawks don't migrate and are generally, defending their territory year-round. They are active during the day. These birds are strong fliers and hunt from a stationary position, but can also dive on prey from the air. Hawaiian hawks are opportunistic predators and are versatile in their feeding habits. They have a shrill and high-pitched call much like their Hawaiian name: "eeeh-oh." They are very noisy during the breeding season.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Hawaiian hawks are carnivores. They feed largely on introduced animals such as rats, lizards, and game birds, as well as invertebrates such as insects.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
March-September
INCUBATION PERIOD
38 days
INDEPENDENT AGE
30 weeks
FEMALE NAME
hen
MALE NAME
tiercel
BABY NAME
eyas
BABY CARRYING
1-3 egss

Hawaiian hawks are monogamous and form pair bonds that last for years and sometimes even for life. These birds nest from March through September, and usually lay only one egg; however, sometimes they could lay up to three in their clutch. The female does the majority of incubation during the 38 days, while the male does the majority of the hunting. After the egg is hatched, the female allows the male to visit only when delivering food to the nest. The chick fledges at seven or eight weeks and parents usually care for their young within 30 weeks.

Population

Population threats

Hawaiian hawks are threatened by illegal hunting, the degradation of their native forest habitat, poisoning, vehicle collisions, starvation, and predation from other animals.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total Hawaiian hawk breeding population is around 1,100 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today remain stable.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • 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 (monarch of Hawaii) and the ʻIolani Palace.
  • The Hawaiian hawk is the only hawk that is native to Hawaiʻi, and fossil evidence indicates that it inhabited the island of Hawaiʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, and Kauaʻi at one time.
  • In traditional Hawaiian culture, the Hawaiian hawk is known as the 'io ("eeeh-oh") and is considered an 'aumakua' or family God; to do harm or to kill this graceful bird is forbidden.

References

1. Hawaiian Hawk on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_hawk
2. Hawaiian Hawk on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22695929/93534506

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