Gundlach’s Hawk Accipiter gundlachi has never been common but formerly occurred throughout Cuba. It is currently classified as Endangered under criterion C2a(i) of the IUCN Red List because of its very small and severely fragmented population (all subpopulations ≤250 individuals) which has continued to decline as a result of habitat loss and disturbance, through logging and agricultural conversion, and human persecution.
This species is now very rare and local, with five main population centres known to remain. The total population was estimated at 150-200 pairs in 1994. There are three centres for the nominate race in west and central Cuba, but two of these held only 3 and 20 pairs respectively in 1994. There are two further areas important for the race wileyi in the east of the island, where the bulk of the population resides. Sightings around Pico Turquino are scarce, but a bird was seen on the north slopes of the Sierra Maestra in early 1999 (Rompré et al. 2000). The population is now estimated to number c.400 individuals, equivalent to c.270 mature individuals.
However, trends appear to have stabilised or even reversed in the last five years, with more frequent sightings over this period (A. Kirkconnell in litt. 2012). If these trends are confirmed and the species has been stable or increasing for at least five years, the Gundlach’s Hawk would no longer qualify as Endangered and warrant downlisting to Vulnerable under criterion D1 of the IUCN Red List, based on a population estimate of <1,000 mature individuals.
Information is requested on the likely population trends of this species, and comments on the suggestion that it qualifies for downlisting are welcome.
Rompré, G., Aubry, Y. and Kirkconnell, A. (2000) Recent observations of threatened birds in eastern Cuba. Cotinga 13: 66.