Plumbeous Hawk Cryptoleucopteryx plumbea


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a moderately small population, which is suspected to be declining as a consequence of habitat loss. It is therefore listed as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population size has not been quantified directly. In Colombia, the population is estimated at just over 10,000 mature individuals, forming one subpopulation (Renjifo et al. 2014). The global population is therefore preliminarily placed in the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals. The species is described as 'uncommon' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
The species is threatened by the loss of forests for agricultural expansion, timber extraction and mining (M. Sanchez in litt. 2013). Over the past three generations (17.4 years), 4% of forest has been lost within the range (Global Forest Watch 2020). While the species’s tolerance of degraded habitats indicates that the population may not be severely impacted by habitat loss, its preference of forest interiors for hunting of prey suggests otherwise. Precautionarily, it is suspected that the rate of population decline is faster than the rate of forest loss, amounting to up to 10% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Cryptoleucopteryx plumbea occurs from eastern Panama throught western Colombia to northwestern Ecuador (Hilty and Brown 1986, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Bierregaard 1994, Clements and Shany 2001). There is a 1995 sighting from Santa Fe in Veraguas, but it has been extirpated from much of western Panama (Bierregaard 1994, G. Montañez in litt. 2000). It is known from several scattered localities in Colombia, notably in Nariño (Hilty and Brown 1986, Bierregaard 1994, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Records from northwestern Peru and southwestern Ecuador are likely due to misidentification and are not supported by specimens (F. Angulo in litt. 2020). The species may be genuinely rare, but it is inconspicuous - in part owing to its 'sit-and-wait' predatory behaviour (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999) - so is probably under-recorded in remaining habitat. For example, only one individual of this species was recorded during 6 months of fieldwork in 2005 in Soberanía National Park, Panama, although these surveys did not involve canopy observation points (M. Canuto in litt. 2014).


It inhabits the closed-canopy interior of lowland and foothill humid forests up to 800 m, but has also been recorded in degraded forest (Bierregaard 1994, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, Bierregaard et al. 2020).


The species is threatened by habitat loss. There has been widespread deforestation across most of its range, primarily driven by the expansion of agriculture, with other prominent drivers being logging for timber and mining activities (M. Sanchez in litt. 2013). Despite its tolerance of low levels of habitat degradation, it depends on a continuous forest cover (J. Freile in litt. 2020, M. Schaefer in litt. 2020).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. CMS Appendix II. Some of the species's habitat is within protected areas of various designations.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Estimate and monitor the global population. Study its ability to persist in degraded and fragmented habitats. Extend protected areas network to include further core areas of remaining habitat.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Angulo Pratolongo, F., Benstead, P., Canuto, M., Capper, D., Freile, J., Montañez, G., Salaman, P.G.W., Sanchez, M., Schaefer, H.M., Sharpe, C.J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Cryptoleucopteryx plumbea. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/05/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/05/2022.