Cap Cana is honored to be the home of a Ridway’s Hawk couple , which have lived and nested in our community for the past 3 years.
Ridgway’s hawk (Buteo ridgwayi) is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, native to the island of Hispaniola. Despite its common name, this bird is a Buteo buzzard and not a true Accipiter hawk. It was named after the American ornithologist Robert Ridgway. It is a brownish-grey bird with barred tail and underparts. It feeds mainly on reptiles, but also consumes small birds and mammals. It nests high in a tree in spring. Populations of this bird have been declining because of habitat destruction and human persecution, and it is now only found in the Los Haitises National Park in the Dominican Republic and is regarded as “critically endangered”.
Territorial flights begin in January, occurring most often between 1000-1200 h, and nest building, done mostly by the male, begins in late February. The nest is a platform of sticks placed high in a tree or palm in dense vegetation. Clutch size is 1-3 eggs (usually 2), which are chalky cream and heavily marked with orange-red mottling. The female performs most of the incubation, but both sexes participate in nest defense.
- The Ridgway’s Hawk is one of the most critically endangered raptors in the world, with only 250-300 individuals remaining.
- This hawk often builds its nest right on top of an active nest of the Palm Chat, the national bird of Dominican Republic. The hawks add larger twigs on top of the existing Palm Chat nest, without causing any harm to the smaller birds nesting below. It’s like a two-story building for birds!
- The Ridgway’s Hawk is the only diurnal raptor found exclusively in Dominican Republic.