White-necked Hawk Buteogallus lacernulatus


Justification of Red List Category
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it is assumed to have a small population, which is fragmented and likely to be declining as a result of continued habitat loss and direct persecution.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
A moderate and on-going population decline is suspected based on rates of habitat destruction and persecution.

Distribution and population

Buteogallus lacernulatus occurs in the Atlantic forest of east Brazil (Paraíba in 1949 (Pacheco and Whitney 1995), Alagoas, central (T. A. de Melo Júnior in litt. 1999) and south Bahia, east Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and extreme east Paraná and Santa Catarina). Although considered common around 1830, the paucity of recent records suggest that it is uncommon in isolated forest patches, with a small overall population.


It appears largely confined to patches of primary lowland forest up to 900 m (but to 2,890 m in Minas Gerais [Machado et al. 1998]), where it occurs in the midstorey. In Minas Gerais, it has also been recorded in secondary habitats (capoeiras, Eucalyptus plantations), but always close to areas of extensive, more pristine, forest cover (Machado et al. 1998). It appears to specialise in invertebrate prey, feeding on those disturbed by other animals (including Eciton army ants, a human with a lawn-mower, foraging birds and monkeys) (Martuscelli 1996). A recent study of prey revealed grasshoppers, stick insects and a gastropod Megalobulimus paranaguensis (Martuscelli 1996). Stomach contents of three individuals also indicate a primarily invertebrate diet, including spiders and insects, although other prey, including birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, have been reported.


It is primarily at risk from habitat destruction, which is compounded by its low density and highly fragmented range. Unwarranted persecution as a predator of domestic animals remains a problem in São Paulo and Minas Gerais (Machado et al. 1998).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. This species is considered Vulnerable at the national level in Brazil (Silveira and Straube 2008, MMA 2014). It occurs in at least 14 protected areas, but the distances between them, and the low density of the species, means that they do not guarantee long-term security.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey suitable habitat, particularly in the Jequitinhonha valley, Minas Gerais, and central Bahia. Consolidate protected areas where it occurs. Maintain and create habitat corridors between forest fragments. Initiate awareness programmes to address hunting problems.


43-48 cm. Medium-sized, black-and-white forest raptor. White head, washed grey on hindcrown, neck and upper back. All-white underparts. Black back and wings, some faint whitish mottling on tertials. Broad, rounded wings. Short white tail, with black base and thin apical band. Yellow iris, cere and legs. Immature has dark streaks on crown and nape, rufous-brown tips to wing-coverts and scapulars. Similar spp. Mantled Hawk L. polionota has some black mottling on upper back, white tips to secondaries and no black on tip of tail. Voice Not reported.


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

De Luca, A., Develey, P. & Melo Júnior, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Buteogallus lacernulatus. Downloaded from on 01/12/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/12/2021.