Plumbeous Hawk Cryptoleucopteryx plumbea


Justification of Red List Category
This species has been uplisted to Vulnerable as it is suspected to be in rapid population decline owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation.

Population justification
This species's global population size has not been quantified, but it is described as 'uncommon' (Stotz et al. 1996). It is preliminarily placed in the band for 10,000-19,999 mature individuals on the basis that it may be approaching as few as 10,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in rapid decline owing to on-going deforestation, driven mainly by agricultural expansion, as well as timber extraction and mining (M. Sanchez in litt. 2013).

Distribution and population

Leucopternis plumbeus is considered rare to uncommon in eastern Panama, western Colombia and Ecuador, and extreme north-western Peru (Hilty and Brown 1986, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Bierregaard 1994a, Bierregaard et al. 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 1994a, G. Montañez in litt. 2000). It is known from several scattered localities in Colombia, notably in Nariño (Hilty and Brown 1986, Bierregaard 1994a, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Accelerating rates of deforestation are presumably having an impact on the species, and it 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 largely inhabits the closed-canopy interior of lowland and foothill humid forests, up to 800 m, but has also been recorded in degraded forest (Bierregaard 1994a, Bierregaard et al. 1994, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999).


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).

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
Study its ability to persist in degraded and fragmented habitats. Survey and attempt to estimate global population. Extend protected areas network to include further core areas of remaining habitat.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Canuto, M., Montañez, G., Salaman, P. & Sanchez, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Cryptoleucopteryx plumbea. Downloaded from on 26/05/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/05/2020.