The Whole Picture: Galapagos Hawk

| November 3, 2013 | 1 Comment
galapagos hawk The Whole Picture: Galapagos Hawk

The Galapagos Hawk was once common on most of the main islands of the Galapagos Archipelago.

Meet the Galapagos Hawk, a magnificent bird of prey, who sits atop the food chain in the archipelago. It is the only original predator on the Galapagos Islands, and an intimidating one with its piercing scream. Similar in size to the Red-tailed Hawk of North America, the Galapagos Hawk is about 55 cm from beak to tail with a wingspan of 120 cm. While its staple diet is a variety of insects, it always enjoys a tasty snake, iguana, and baby sea turtle or tortoise once in while. The hawk also heads up the Galapagos clean-up crew as the islands’ main scavenger.

Once common on most of the main islands of the archipelago, the population suffered a serious  decline in the 1980s. It is now extinct on five islands, but continues to inhabit Santiago, Española, Isabela, Fernandina, Pinta, Marchena, Pinzón and Santa Fe. Although their exact numbers are unknown, there are believed to be only around 150 mating pairs in existence today.

Due to human disturbance to their natural habitat and a dwindling food supply because of invasive predators, they are now extinct on the islands of Baltra, Daphne, Floreana, San Cristobal, and Seymour. Black rats, Norway rats and house mice snuck onto the islands after hitching rides on pirate and whaling ships in the 1600 and 1700s. Since then, they’ve threatened the islands’ hawks by scavenging their eggs.

Inspired by publications like Life Magazine, National Geographic and online experiences like’s photo blog, images marked as ‘The Whole Picture’  are intended to highlight high-quality, amazing imagery. Kathryn and Daniel will post ‘The Whole Picture‘ irregulary.  Like all of our photos, it is an original photo not otherwise on the site—it might be fresh from our camera, a new scan of some old film, a product of our fooling around with Photoshop, or a file from the archive that we haven’t posted yet.

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About the Author ()

For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. Check him out on Google+.

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