Common Black Hawk

Common Black Hawks have broad wings, short tails, long legs, and large bodies. They are predominantly black, except for their yellow bills and feet and a white bands across the tail.

  • Buteogallus anthracinus
  • Length: 17 – 21 in (43 – 53)
  • Weight: 33oz (930g)


They can be spotted along the southern border from California to Texas, mostly in summer. However, they usually remain resident all year in their range in Mexico and Central America.

Habitat And Diet

Although called ‘common’, they are not very common in the United States, and only about 250 pairs are thought to exist here. You can find Common Black Hawks around riparian forests in canyons and deserts. They prefer to stay in places with abundant perches and shallow waters.

They hunt along streams near woods, looking for crabs, fish, frogs, and lizards, but they will also hunt birds and small mammals. They have honed their hunting skills by learning to “herd” their prey into shallower water by waving their wings. When they capture larger fish, they will carry these back to their perch to remove the fins before eating them.

Common Black Hawk Call:


Nests of Common Black Hawks are often built on the forks of cottonwood, sycamore, or willow trees at a height of thirty to ninety feet. The nesting sites are usually along the edge of a river for easy access to food. Both parents build the nest together using sticks and fresh green leaves. The female lays three to four eggs and incubation takes thirty-eight days.

Fun Fact:

The Common Black Hawk has the Cuban Black Hawk (Buteogallus gundlachii) and the Mangrove Black Hawk (B.a. subtilis) as its subspecies.