Sharp Shinned Hawk – Call | Size | Juvenile | Diet | Facts | Range

sharp shinned hawk

One of the most typical yard hawks, the sharp-shinned hawk is an agile predator that feeds on small birds resembling finches and sparrows. In this article, I am going to talk about the Sharp-Shinned Hawk call, in-flight, vs cooper’s hawk, images, size, juvenile, diet, range, etc.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk profile

This member of the Accipitridae household will be complicated, nevertheless, and birders have to look rigorously to really feel assured about figuring out this raptor. Fortunately, this truth sheet has all the pieces you might want to higher perceive the sharp-shinned hawk.


Found all through the forested areas of North America via Central America into Argentina and Brazil.

An extremely migratory species, it leaves the northern United States in September and winters in Central America. A couple of sharp-shinned hawks are seen around bird feeders in Minnesota each winter.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk Identification

This chicken’s predatory construction with its brief, curved bill marked with a yellow cere, its massive talons, and its overall form clearly identifies it as a raptor however telling which raptor is usually a problem.

Genders are related although females are usually considerably bigger than males. The head and back are medium to darkish grey, and the white breast is thickly streaked with rusty red or brown streaks.

The long tail has a square tip, darkish grey horizontal stripes, and a skinny white tip, although the white tip can put on off over time. The legs are shiny yellow and really skinny, with a particular sharp ridge that offers these birds their name.

Adult birds have red eyes whereas juveniles have yellow eyes. Juvenile sharp-shinned hawks even have much less distinct barring on the breast and will present a faint white eyebrow streak.

Their breast coloration can also be more brownish reasonably than the pink hue of adults.

Hawks rely partially on stealth to seize their prey and sounds are uncommon. Sharp-shinned hawks will name a harsh “kee-kee-kee” or “kik-kik-kik” alarm when a nest is threatened.

Sharp Shinned Hawk Habitat

It happens in a variety of woodland and forest sorts, each dominated by conifers and by varied sorts of broad-leaved bushes (particularly oaks.

The largest populations of the nominate group (see taxonomy) are thought to happen within the temperate boreal forests, however winter in hotter areas farther south (see distribution).

The taxa suttoni, madrensis (each from the nominate group), chionogaster (white-breasted hawk), and ventralis (plain-breasted hawk), are present in higher tropical to temperate highlands; primarily at altitudes of 300–3,000 m (980–9,840 ft), however sometimes down to close sea-level and as much as 4,000 m (13,000 ft).

The taxon erythronemius (rufous-thighed hawk) is present in tropical and subtropical areas; each in lowlands and highlands.

Sharp Shinned Hawk Description

This is a small Accipiter hawk, with males 23 to 30 cm (9.1 to 11.8 in) long, with a wingspan of 42 to 58 cm (17 to 23 in) and weight from 82–115 g (2.9–4.1 oz).

As frequent in Accipiter hawks, females are distinctly bigger in measurement, averaging some 30% longer, and with a weight benefit of more than 50% being frequent.

The feminine measures 29 to 37 cm (11 to 15 in) in size, has a wingspan of 58 to 68 cm (23 to 27 in) and weighs 150 to 219 g (5.3 to 7.7 oz).

The wings measure 14.1–22.9 cm (5.6–9.0 in) every, the tail is 12–19 cm (4.7–7.5 in) long and the tarsus is 4.5–5.9 cm (1.8–2.3 in). Measurements given listed below are for the northern group, however, they’re comparable for the remaining subspecies.

Adults have brief broad wings and a medium-length tail banded in blackish and grey with the tip various amongst people from barely notched via sq. to barely rounded (usually narrowly tipped white).

The remiges (usually solely seen in flight) are whitish barred blackish. The legs are long and really slender (therefore the frequent name) and yellow.

Sharp Shinned Hawk Diet and Feeding

These are carnivorous birds that eat small prey, together with mice and different small mammals, in addition to small birds resembling sparrows and finches.

They will even assault nestling and different younger birds before they develop too massive for the hawks to efficiently seize, and enormous bugs can also make up a part of their eating regimen.

After feeding, sharp-shinned hawks should rest to digest their prey, and they’ll regurgitate pellets of indigestible components resembling bones, fur, and feathers.

Sharp Shinned Hawk

Sharp Shinned Hawk Behavior

Like all birds of prey, sharp-shinned hawks will soar over their territory to find prey. They are prone to feed on the bottom after capturing a chicken, mouse, or different small mammal and will stay on the bottom for a number of minutes after feeding.

They will perch in areas with good visibility to find feeding grounds, and infrequently make brief, shut flights over bushes or a dense brush to startle small birds into the flight to be simpler to catch.

The sharp-shinned hawk’s long tail and rounded wings give them wonderful maneuverability via dense brush and bushes in pursuit of prey.

Sharp Shinned Hawk Nesting

Female sharp-shinned hawks construct a platform nest and lift one brood of 3-5 altricial younger per year. The male partner might assist collect twigs for nesting materials, however, the feminine does many of the nest building.

Nests are usually positioned 10-60 ft above the bottom in a sturdy tree, and the identical nests could also be reused or rebuilt every year.

Eggs and Young

The oval-shaped eggs of a sharp-shinned hawk are whitish or pale blue and are marked with darkish spots. Eggs have to be incubated for 30-35 days, and the feminine mother or father does nearly all of the incubation.

Fledgling birds stay within the nest for an additional 25-27 days, although younger males usually go away from the nest before their sisters. Both female and male dad and mom will feed and rear the nestlings.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk Conservation

These raptors are usually not thought-about threatened or endangered, however, they’re in danger from varied threats that have an effect on all raptors.

Improper pesticide use, significantly pesticides and rodenticides that poison their prey, may also contaminate and even kill sharp-shinned hawks. Because these raptors chase small birds and are frequent in suburban areas, they’re additionally susceptible to window strikes.


Northern sharp-shinned hawk populations will migrate to the south for winter, however birds within the western mountains of Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, southern Idaho, northern California, Washington, and Oregon could also be current year-round.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk Identification

Because raptors are comparatively solitary, they are often tough to search out. Visiting an urban park nature heart or wildlife protection with a devoted feeding space might result in sharp-shinned hawk sightings because the birds find out about straightforward meals at feeding stations.

Otherwise, birders ought to look ahead to sharp-shinned hawks at forest edges or visiting their very own yard feeders.

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