15 Types of Hawks Found Living In The US

The hawk is probably the most beautiful bird. Only the bald eagle might be more beautiful.

Different types of these birds that are active during the day do well in the US because it has many climate zones that are good for different kinds of wildlife.

Some people call accipitrine hawks “true hawks,” and some people call Buteonine hawks “buzzards.” However, in the US, members of the Buteo group are called “hawks.”

In this article, we’ll look at 15 types of hawks that live in the US during the breeding season or all year long.

15. Gray Hawk

The grey hawk, like its size, has a smaller population in the United States.

The grey hawk, a neotropical bird, can be found in southern Arizona, as well as in Texas and New Mexico.

During the breeding season, this hawk is known for putting on a dazzling display of sky dances.

Despite being a member of the Butei groups, it soars freely across thermals like an accipiter.

They enjoy eating lizards and small mammals, which are plentiful in the US states they visit.

14. Broad-Winged Hawk

This stocky broad-winged hawk is difficult to notice when it is hidden deep in the woods.

Broad-winged hawks blend in well in the woodland thanks to their white speckled chest.

In the winter, these raptors make long migrations to Central America. They spend their summers in the eastern side of the United States.

The broad-winged has a wide range of prey, from snakes to smaller mammals, which it attentively examines before pouncing to kill.

13. Common Black Hawk

The common black hawk is only found in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and nearby territories during the nesting season.

It has a royal appearance with its black body and white bands on the tail. Because of their preference for crab legs, these black raptors are frequently found in shallow seas.

In addition, the common black hawk consumes baby birds, frogs, snakes, and other small water animals.

12. Rough-Legged Hawk

The rough-legged hawk, like the ferruginous hawk, has feathers down to its claws on its legs.

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The Arctic tundra provides a nesting site for this in the summer.

The hawk’s feathered legs and dense body cover help it survive the arctic cold before moving south for the winter.

The Rough-legged hawk prefers to observe its prey from a perch before diving down to catch it – their distinctive hovering hunting approach is difficult to miss.

11. Harris’s Hawk

Harris’s hawks, with their lengthy legs, resemble falcons.

They can be found in the southwest of the United States. Unlike many other raptors, Harris’s hawks hunt in groups, with the feeding order determined by the group hierarchy.

Despite being unique, non-migratory birds who live in groups have a better chance of survival than those that live alone.

While their preferred habitat is the desert lowlands, their number has grown in urban areas due to regular food availability.

10. Swainson’s Hawk

Swainson’s hawk migrates all the way from Argentina to the US west and eastern Alaska during the breeding season, making it one of the longest migrations of any raptor found in the US.

During the breeding season, they like hunting reptiles, rabbits, insects, and rodents in the open area.

During the fall, you can observe the big migration of raptors such as the Swainson’s hawk, turkey vultures, and broad-winged hawks.

9. Northern Goshawk

The Northern Goshawk can be found all year in some parts of the western United States and Alaska.

This raptor with blood-colored eyes and a dark feathered head, on the other hand, is impossible to overlook. They nest in massive coniferous trees and hunt in wooded areas.

When pursuing their prey, the canopy cover affords them an element of surprise.

Northern goshawks are extremely territorial by nature and will attack anyone who comes too close to their nest and poses a threat.

Considering their size, this territorial tendency can be harmful to a variety of intruders, including humans.

8. Zone-Tailed Hawk

The zone-tailed hawk is a sight to behold, with its lustrous grey-black fur.

During the breeding season, this majestic bird can be found in the Southern Western United States.

Their resemblance to the Turkey vulture allows them to rapidly snatch their unassuming prey.

Their favored habitats are shrublands and timber canyons.

These hawks dive and circle in the air while mating.

For territorial protection, zone-tailed hawks commonly screech, make circles, and descend to the ground.

7. Short-Tailed Hawk

These tropical raptors are most likely to be seen in Florida.

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They have, however, recently spread across the Mexico-Arizona border.

These hawks are difficult to notice due to their limited population and habit of not perching in the open.

Unlike other Buteo group species, these hawks eat smaller birds, but they are usually unsuccessful in their search.

It hunts in a unique manner, appearing to stop in the air before diving down to attack its prey.

6. Sharp-Shinned Hawk

The sharp-shinned hawk’s modest size is offset by its exceptional athleticism.

Sharp-shinned females are larger than males.

Even though they resemble Copper hawks, their speckled orange chest that fades into their belly, together with their much smaller size, serves as a useful identifying flag.

During the breeding season, you can locate them in the northern half of the United States.

They do, however, return to southern states for the winter, despite the fact that some remain year-round hawks that do not migrate.

They feast on songbirds, darting into bird feeders to prey on them.

5. Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper’s hawk is a medium-sized accipiter with distinctive broad rounded wings and a long tail.

You can see them all year in most of the lower 48 states. The white and brown speckled breast and amber eyes are their most distinguishing features.

The Cooper hawk’s flying agility is well-known, and it is one of the key reasons they can feed on songbirds; you may frequently see them at the bird feeders.

In metropolitan areas, the Cooper population is fast growing.

4. Ferruginous Hawk

The Ferruginous hawk is one of the largest hawks (and one of the largest buteos) in the United States.

It has feathers all the way down to its feet, a characteristic shared by only one other hawk in the United States, the rough-legged hawk.

The ferruginous hawk comes in two colors: light and black. The name comes from the light morph’s reddish-brown back and legs and pale chest.

The dark morph features chocolate-colored feathers as opposed to the light morph’s rusk color, however, they are less prevalent.

These massive raptors hunt small mammals and prairie dogs in deserts and broad grasslands.

3. White-tailed Hawk

These magnificent large birds are larger than the red-tailed hawk.

Look for a dazzling white tail with a black band at the back end when recognizing a white-tailed hawk.

These hawks live in southern Texas’ plains, pastures, and grasslands.

Their principal food source is small mammals, which some songbirds exploit to obtain safety from predators who would not dare to come in front of the majestic raptors.

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They have a characteristic high-pitched call that is followed by multiple “ke” sounds.

They, like most hawks, re-use the same nest locations, causing the nest to become very large, reaching up to 1m in length and width.

2. Red-Shouldered Hawk

When perched, the red-shouldered hawk’s auburn shoulders are on full display, as the name suggests.

The raptor’s barred henna-colored chest adds to its majesty as it soars over woods, especially with an open canopy, to quickly hunt down small mammals and amphibians when necessary.

It pounces on its victim by straight dropping from above, which distinguishes it from other hawks.

The woodlands are the most likely place to encounter a red-shouldered hawk, but these regular forest inhabitants can be seen in suburban areas if the buildings extend into the woodlands.

These raptors can be found all year in the American south and along the California coast.

Eastern California and southwestern Oregon are the finest places to see this rufous hawk in the winter.

1. Red-Tailed Hawk

The red-tailed hawk is one of, if not the, most famous hawks in America, and is the most common raptor sighting in North America.

With its contrasting white chest and crimson tail, this bird of prey is impossible to miss.

Red-tailed hawks prefer open spaces and will settle in a variety of locations if they have enough space to fly and high perches.

These hawks can be observed all over the United States, from the countryside to roadside poles to the plains. They are frequently seen floating on thermal updrafts.

This raptor’s talons are used to capture and fly away with its prey.

During the breeding season in Spring, it prefers to make a nest on cliff ledges, large trees, and (because of habitat degradation) towering urban buildings.

These hawks can be found all year in the lower 48 states of the United States, but they may also be seen in Alaska during the breeding season.

Interesting Fact: The red-tailed hawk’s call is commonly used in movies to substitute the considerably more muffled call of the bald eagle.

Final Words

These magnificent raptors can be found all over the United States.

Hawks are one of the world’s top flying predators due to their strength, speed, vision, and hunting tactics.

If you’re lucky, you might see one or more of these birds in flight or perched atop a tree branch in various states across America.