The Five Different Types of Hawks

There are many types of hawks, each with a different set of habits and behaviors. While most hawks are capable of hunting prey, some types may be more effective in a given area. Red-tailed hawks are a prime example, because they swoop down and catch their prey. They are also highly competitive, following other birds of prey around to hunt them. Listed below are the five most common types of hawks.

Harris’s Hawk – This species feeds on small birds, primarily ground squirrels and lizards. This hawk flies up high and plummets to catch prey, often while perched in trees. These birds live in the southwest and are considered social birds. They often live in large flocks and hunt in packs. The birds work together to catch prey and feed in order of group dominance.

Zone-tailed hawk – The Sharp-shinned hawk is the smallest of the buteo raptors. It weighs between twenty-four and forty-six ounces and has a wingspan of thirty-four to forty-five inches. It is often mistaken for a turkey vulture due to its appearance and flight, and has developed a characteristic masking behavior.

Swainson’s hawk – The Swainson’s hawk is a medium-sized raptor that spends its summers in northern Oregon. During the winter, it migrates south and spends its winters in South America. During the summer, it is commonly seen in eastern and western North America, where it feeds on small mammals and reptiles. Its migration is the longest of any bird of prey and can take two months or more.

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