Ivory – White Hawk
Received: January 21, 1992
Ivory arrived at the World Bird Sanctuary in January of 1992 after the government of Grenada sought the assistance of our Director, Walter Crawford in rescuing a large number of animals abandoned by a poacher. This poacher was involved in the illegal international trade of birds and animals in that country. Ivory was one of those birds. To the best of our knowledge, Ivory was captured from the wild in South America and then smuggled into Grenada to later be sold as a pet.
Our role in the rescue mission probably saved Ivory’s life, as many birds being smuggled into and out of a country die while in transit. Ivory is doing very well at World Bird Sanctuary, and has become a valuable educational bird. She now visits school children in St. Louis and surrounding areas as part of our “Rain Forests Rock” program, which teaches audiences about the plight of animals that are illegally taken from their natural environment.
Species: White Hawk
Latin Name: Leucopternis albicollis
Description: small to medium sized hawk with short rounded wings and moderate length tail; four subspecies known; in a. albicollis the wing quills are mostly black with white markings; black tail band extends to base of tail, leaving a broad, white tip; eyes are brown; underparts are almost totally white when viewed from below, with the exception of the black wing-tips and a black tail band visible in flight; legs are yellow; bill is black
Sex: similar markings, but females are larger and heavier than the males
Wingspan: very broad short wings
Weight: 1.43-1.85 lbs.
Habitat: lowland forest and other woodlands; prefers well watered tropical regions where the dry season is not too long; avoids deep, unbroken rain forest, except around swampy areas where forest is more thinned out
Status: fairly common in its range; listed as Least Concern
Range: from central Venezuela, Guyana and Trinidad, south to southern Amazonia and Mato Grosso
Behavior: usually seen perching at the edge of the forest, usually near a stream bed, watching the ground for reptiles; pounces on prey from the perch; has a spectacular aerial courtship display; usually lays one dark-splotched blue-white egg; eggs are laid in a twig nest high in a tree at the edge of the forest in early March; nest is lined with dead and green leaves
Diet: feeds mostly on tree snakes and lizards up to approximately 15 inches long; occasionally may catch a young or weak bird, as well as large insects
Vocalization: harsh buteo-like scream; a plaintive kerwee