Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Mississippi
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Mississippi Project

Rapid assessment of geographic distribution and habitat conditions of the critically endangered Puerto Rico Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus venator following Hurricane Maria

April 2018 - December 2018


Participating Agencies

  • Joint FEMA/USFWS hurricane task force

The Puerto Rican Sharp-shinned Hawk (SSHA) is an endangered woodland raptor of Puerto Rico. Available information indicates populations are declining and geographic distribution is mostly confined to isolated localities in the Cordillera Central. On 20 September 2017, Hurricane Maria moved across the island of Puerto Rico from southeast to northwest with sustained winds of 250 km/hr. Initial reports from the center of the geographic region occupied by SSHA indicate massive and extensive damage to forest cover, including defoliation and loss of canopy. Recently completed research on the SSHA supported by the USFWS State of the Birds program has generated information on pre-hurricane geographic distribution and nesting territory occupancy. Funding provided by the Quick Response Program would allow updating the status of the species following Hurricane Maria, identify key habitat locations for SSHA and assess impacts from this severe storm.

Research Publications Publication Date
Gallardo, J.C., and F.J. Vilella. 2017. Conservation status assessment of an endangered insular raptor: the Sharp-shinned Hawk in Puerto Rico. Journal of Field Ornithology 88(4):349-361. DOI: 10.1111/jofo.12228 December 2017