Grey-bellied Goshawk Accipiter poliogaster


Justification of Red List Category
This species qualified for uplisting from Least Concern to Near Threatened (under criterion A3c) during 2008-2012 because it was projected to decline by a rate approaching 30% over the next three generations (22 years) owing to deforestation in the Amazon, based on analyses in Bird et al. (2011) using the deforestation scenarios in Soares-Filho et al. (2006). The latter projected the impacts of 27 planned road-building projects in the region: 14 of which were due to be completed in 2008, six in 2012, and three each in 2025 and 2018. Hence the majority of the deforestation was projected to result from roads built during 2008-2012, and is projected to continue as people gain more access to the area.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 1,000-10,000 individuals.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 16.5-21.9% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (22 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). Given the susceptibility of the species to hunting and/or trapping and disturbance, and its patchy distribution and rarity (A. Lees in litt. 2011), it is suspected to decline by 25-30% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Accipiter poliogaster ranges over much of South America, and has recently been recorded in Costa Rica for the first time (del Hoyo et al. 1994, A. Lees in litt. 2011). In northern South America, 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, Bolivia and Paraguay. The species's distribution reaches northern Argentina, although there have been no recent records from the north-east (del Hoyo et al. 1994).


This is a rainforest species, occurring in lowlands up to 500 m. It is also found in patches of riparian forest and other dense woodland. 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). Its patchy distribution also makes it susceptible to fragmentation and disturbance, and it may be hunted. However, it has been observed foraging in degraded habitat and clearly has at least some tolerance to deforestation (A. Lees in litt. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Expand the protected area network to effectively protect IBAs. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Conservation on private lands, through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture, is also essential (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
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Khwaja, N. & Symes, A.

Lees, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Accipiter poliogaster. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/06/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/06/2022.