February 21st 2003
This beautiful creature
was photographed
on 5 and E road
in Hawaiian acres.
Proudly holding
not five feet from us
its fresh prey,
a dove.
High resolution files are available
for free to schools.

all photos copyrighted
PRIMAL PHOTOGRAPHS
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Distribution and Population Trends

This species is endemic
to the island of Hawai'i,
although vagrants occasionally
wander to Maui, O'ahu, and Kaua'i.

Population estimates for
Hawaiian Hawk range from
1,600 to 2,700 individuals.
It is difficult to assess population
trends for this species due
to a lack of information
on historical numbers.









Ecology

Hawaiian Hawk is found
in a wide variety of habitats,
from exotic forest and
pastureland in the lowlands
to native forest as high
as 8,900 feet in elevation.
Most successful nesting,
however, is confined to
higher elevation native
forest with 'ohi'a trees.
The nest is large and bulky,
consisting mainly of twigs
which are piled without
organization until the bowl
of a nest is formed.
Historically, clutches of one
to three eggs were reported,
but most nests found during
recent studies of the hawk's
breeding biology have contained
just one egg
Incubation lasts at least 38 days,
and young birds leave the
nest about 60 days after hatching.
Breeding pairs are extremely
aggressive in defense of the nest.







This species has a varied diet,
which includes insects,
introduced mammals,
and native and non-native
species of birds.
Unfortunately, it preys upon
young Hawaiian Crows,
adding another conservation
concern to that already
highly-endangered species.
Hawaiian Hawks hunt from
a perch or, more rarely, in flight.
This species is most commonly
seen soaring on thermals above
forest or agricultural land either
singly or in pairs.
Hawaiian Hawk shows the most
dramatic size difference between
sexes of any species
of Buteo hawk, with females
being larger than males.





Threats

It is believed that disturbance
of nesting birds and the illegal
shooting of Hawaiian Hawks
might be the most important
threats facing this species,
but it is difficult to accurately
determine the level of
shooting and trapping.
The degradation of native forest
habitat is another significant threat
to this species.
Introduced pigs and other ungulates
have had a devastating impact




on native Hawaiian plant species,
directly reducing their numbers
while also facilitating the spread
of exotic plants that then
out-compete remaining native plants.
Hawaiian Hawks show a strong
preference for nesting in native
'ohi'a trees, but this tree species
is almost completely absent on
Hawai'i below an elevation
of 2,000 feet, due to
competition from introduced plants.




NEW PHOTOS DECEMBER 2003
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