The Galapagos Hawk: The Top of the Food Chain of this Archipelago.
Hawks in Galapagos (Buteo galapagoensis) are the major native predators of most Islands in Galapagos. It is also an endemic species.
This buzzard-like bird will feed on lava lizards, snakes, young marine iguanas, chicks of sea birds, and other small vertebrates. It is also common to see sub-adults and juveniles acting like scavengers.
It is worth mentioning that their reproductive strategy is rather unusual and it is called cooperative polyandry.
This type of mating scheme is rare among birds. The breeding cooperation exists between a female and up to three (sometimes 8) males within the same territory:
The Galapagos hawk has the same genus as the hawks found in Europe, America and Asia.
But the interesting fact is that since these hawks evolved alone in the Galapagos Islands, they are tamer than its relatives in other continents.
As they become adults, Galapagos island Hawk's plumage changes into a full dark brown color.
Aerial displays of adults and young individuals show incredible air maneuvers. See Stunning Galapagos Pictures here
Hawks in Galapagos nest in trees, and the nests are quite big, as they are reused with new twigs added at each breeding attempt.
Up to three young may be raised at a time. Since this hawk practices cooperative polyandry, as many as eight males may mate with a single female.
Its plumage varies in color from white and brown to a bright yellow and black. Hawks in Galapagos are the major native predators.
The hawks in Galapagos are scavengers that feed on almost every dead animal as well. These animals could be: dead fur seals, sea lions, marine iguanas, goats, etc.
According to recent studies, the ancestors of the hawk in Galapagos colonized these Islands approximately 300,000 years ago, classifying (up to now) these birds as the most recent arrival known.
As we said before, the Galapagos hawk is not afraid of humans and sometimes you can see it very close to you.
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