Santa Fe, Galapagos Islands
One of the world’s rarest raptors: the Galapagos Hawk. There are thought to be only about 150 mating pairs left in existence. These hawks are the largest land bird and the top predator in the Galapagos archipelago. Their closest relative is North America’s Swainson’s hawk. Galapagos hawks on Santa Fe Island feed on the placenta of newly-born mammals. All over the world, from coyotes and vultures, to hyenas and jackals, scavengers are smart enough to head straight for placenta and afterbirth when a mammal is born, knowing how incredibly rich and nutritious it is. These hawks are important scavengers in the Galapagos, using their strong beaks to feed off carcasses (as well as afterbirth). They also feed on invertebrates like giant centipedes and locusts, snakes, rodents, lizards, small iguanas, turtle hatchlings, and other birds.