Bird Identification: Hawks

Bird Identification: HawksThere are several species of hawks that live in the United States. These large birds of prey are important to the ecology of the regions they live in, capturing and eating rodents, snakes and insects. (Pictured: Red-tailed Hawk)

Red-tailed Hawk

Found across almost the entire North American continent, the red-tailed hawk is a large, primarily brown hawk with a squared tail. The tail is a reddish brown with a dark band that goes across the bottom.


Cooper's Hawk

The Cooper's hawk is a colorful bird with a bluish-gray back and a brown speckled white breast. The bird's habit of killing other birds by squeezing them with its sharp talons sets it apart from other hawk species in the United States.

Cooper's Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

The red-shouldered hawk possesses a reddish brown area on its shoulders that makes it recognizable. The bird has brown on its upper body, and the breast is white with a set of rusty, reddish patches.

Swainson's Hawk

A hawk of the American West, the Swainson's hawk has a grayish tail and a white throat. When viewed from below as it soars, the hawk has whitish wings that contrast with the darker brown feathers at the wing tips

Northern Harrier

The northern harrier is a larger hawk that has a combination of gray and white feathers. It differs from many hawk species in the U.S. by its habit of gliding close to the ground as it hunts.

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