Environmental Research Unit, PO Box 434, Stanley, Falkland Islands
Red-backed HawkButeo polyosoma
Local Name: Red-backed Buzzard, Hawk, Grey-backed (male)
Breeding Range: Falklands and South America
Falklands Population: ~500 breeding pairs
World Population: unknown
Although not particularly numerous due to their requirements for large breeding territories, Red-backed Hawks are found throughout most of the Falklands. Favourite nesting sites are rocky outcrops and low cliffs, with nests being made from twigs and vegetation. The nests are re-used each year, although a pair may hold two or three nests within their territory from which to choose. Two or three eggs are laid in October and the young fledge in January. Adults feed on small birds, introduced rabbits, hares and rodents, and occasionally carrion. All adults have grey upper-wings, but only the males have grey backs, the females being distinguished by their chestnut backs. There are light and dark variations in both sexes, but this should not confuse identification.