Cooperative Research Units
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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


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 Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • 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


  • Gallardo, J.C., and F.J. Vilella. 2017. Conservation status assessment using ecological niche modeling: the Sharp-shinned Hawk in Puerto Rico. BirdsCaribbean 21st International Meeting, 13-17 July, 2017. Topes de Collantes, Cuba.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 238

Phd Students: 144

Post Docs: 54

University Staff: 239

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 673

Scientific Publications: 1905

Presentations: 4236



Funding Agencies

  • Joint FEMA/USFWS hurricane task force


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey