Grey-bellied Goshawk Accipiter poliogaster


Justification of Red List Category
This species is suspected to undergo a moderately rapid decline caused by the loss, fragmentation and degradation of forests within its range, and potentially hunting. It is therefore listed as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population size has not been quantified, but the species is thought to be rare to scarce throughout its range (Bierregaard et al. 2020).

Trend justification
The population trend has not been assessed directly, but the species is suspected to be declining as a consequence of the loss and degradation of its forest habitat and potentially localised hunting. Within the range, tree cover is lost at a rate of 11% over three generations (24 years; Global Forest Watch 2021, using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein). Even though it is occasionally observed in degraded habitats, near forest edge and in dense woodland, the species appears to require large tracts of forests and as such, population declines are likely faster than tree cover loss alone. Precautionarily, it is assumed that forest degradation increases the rate of habitat loss by half, so that the combined impacts of tree cover loss and degradation would cause a total of c.17% habitat loss over three generations. The impact of hunting on the population size has not been quantified, but it is tentatively assumed that this threat alone causes a population decline of c.5% over three generations. The rate of population decline is therefore placed in the band 20-29% over three generations, but this value requires confirmation.

Distribution and population

Accipiter poliogaster ranges over much of South America, and part of Central America (del Hoyo et al. 1994, A. Lees in litt. 2011). It is rare but widespread in Colombia, south Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. In north-east Ecuador it is very rare (Restall et al. 2006). From here its range spreads southwards through Brazil, east Peru, BoliviaParaguay and northern Argentina. In the north, it ranges to Panama and Costa Rica.


This is a rainforest species, occurring in lowlands up to 800 m. Locally it can reach higher elevations; it has been recorded to 1,800 m in southeastern Brazil and to 1,950 m in eastern Ecuador (Bierregaard et al. 2020). Apart from rainforests, it is also found in patches of riparian forest, dense woodland, as well as in 'terra firme' and 'várzea' forest in Amazonia (Bierregaard et al. 2020). As a large bird it is thought to take sizeable prey, likely other birds (del Hoyo et al. 1994).


The primary threat to this species is accelerating deforestation in the Amazon Basin (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). Habitat destruction is also proceeding in its range in the Atlantic forest (B. Lima in litt. 2020). Its patchy distribution also makes it susceptible to fragmentation and disturbance. However, it has been observed foraging in degraded habitat and clearly has at least some tolerance to deforestation (A. Lees in litt. 2011). Furthermore, the species may locally be hunted (Bierregaard et al. 2020).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. The species is listed as Endangered at the national level in Argentina (MAyDS and AA 2017).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Quantify the population size. Investigate the species's ecology, behaviour and population structure. Quantify the impact of hunting on the population size. Monitor the population trend. Monitor rates of habitat loss. Expand the protected area network to effectively protect key sites, including in the Atlantic Forest. Effectively manage protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Incentivise conservation on private lands through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture (Soares-Filho et al. 2006).


Medium-sized forest accipiter. Dark grey and brown above, with a slight pale supraloral and white underparts, yellow legs and a barred grey and black tail. Young have a black crown, with chestnut malar patches and broken banding on underparts. Similar spp. Very similar to Slaty-backed Forest-falcon Micrastur mirandollei, but larger, with a shorter square tail. Hints Regularly soars over forest, with a cackling kek-kek-kek-kek-kek-kek call that trails off at the end.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Butchart, S., Cabanne, G.S., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Khwaja, N., Lees, A., Lima, B. & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Accipiter poliogaster. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/09/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/09/2022.