Harris’s Hawk

Harris’s Hawks are unusual in both their coloring and habits. Their dark brown and reddish tones with flashes of white stand out against the arid environments they inhabit.

They are medium-sized hawks with broad, rounded wings and long tails. Their tails are often fanned out and have distinctive dark and light bands. Females can be twice as heavy as males but usually around 30-40% heavier.

  • Parabuteo unicinctus
  • Length: 18.1-23.2 in (46-59 cm)
  • Weight: 18.2-31.0 oz (515-880 g)
  • Wingspan: 40.5-46.9 in (103-119 cm)


They are unusual birds of prey in that they often live in social groups of about six or seven birds. They cooperate in hunting and helping breeding pairs in the group.

Due to their intelligence, they are prized in falconry as they are easy to train.

Habitat And Diet

Harris’s Hawks can be found in arid Southern States, Mexico, and down through South America. They live in sparse woodland and semi-desert locations with perches and nest supports. They have also begun to be comfortable around suburban areas.

Birds, mammals, and insects or lizards make up the main diet, but they can also catch jackrabbits or larger birds such as small wild turkeys when they hunt in groups.

Harris’s Hawk Call:


Nests of Harris’s Hawks are often found on high perches or tall, sturdy structures like saguaro cacti, mesquite, palm, eucalyptus, and pine trees and even on windmill platforms and electrical transmission towers. They are usually bulky nests made of sticks and parts of cacti.

The female does the job of building the nest but there may be other members of the group helping during the nesting cycle. She will lay one to five eggs and may have more than one brood per year. Incubation takes thirty-one to thirty-six days.

Fun Fact:

Harris’s Hawks got their name from John James Audubon’s friend and ornithological companion, Edward Harris.