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18 Types of Hawks in Texas: An In-Depth Look

There are 18 types of hawks in texas, including the zone-tailed hawk, white-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, and more.

Texas is home to many raptors, including hawks. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the different hawk species that call Texas home and learn more about their habits and behavior. 

We’ll also explore the important role these raptors play in the ecosystem.

Types of Hawks in Texas

There are many different types of hawks that can be found in the state of Texas:

  1. Ferruginous Hawk
  2. Zone-Tailed Hawk
  3. White-Tailed Hawk
  4. Common Black-Hawk
  5. Red-Shouldered Hawk
  6. Red-Tailed Hawk
  7. Roadside Hawk
  8. Rough-Legged Hawk
  9. Gray Hawk
  10. Sharp-Shinned Hawk
  11. Short-Tailed Hawk
  12. Great Black Hawk
  13. Harris’s Hawk
  14. Crane Hawk
  15. Cooper’s Hawk
  16. Broad-Winged Hawk
  17. Northern Harrier
  18. Swainson’s Hawk

1. Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk
Scientific NameButeo regalis
Size50.8 cm to 63.5 cm
Weight3.30 lbs
Lifespan20 years

The Ferruginous Hawk is a large hawk found in North America[1]. It is the only member of the genus Buteo in which the tail is evenly divided between light and dark. 

Adults have rusty-red upper parts and light underparts with numerous small dark spots. The head, face, and throat are white in adults, with a rust-red cap. Eyas have brown upper parts and streaked light underparts. 

The ferruginous hawk ranges from 22 to 25 inches in length and has a wingspan of 50 to 60 inches.

2. Zone-Tailed Hawk

Zone-Tailed Hawk
Image Source
Scientific NameButeo albonotatus
Size45-56 cm
Weight1.34-2.07 lbs
Lifespan10-12 years

The Zone-Tailed Hawk is a species of hawk that is found in the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America. 

It is a large raptor with a wingspan of up to 3 feet. The upperparts are gray and white with black bars, while the underparts are pale with dark streaks.

The Zone-tailed Hawk is a fairly common bird in its range. Its numbers have declined in recent years due to habitat loss and fragmentation. 

The bird is now protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

3. White-Tailed Hawk

White-Tailed Hawk
Image Source
Scientific NameGeranoaetus albicaudatus
Size45-60 cm
Weight0.62 lbs
Lifespan12 years

The White-Tailed Hawk is a hawk found in the southern parts of the United States, including Texas. 

It is a small hawk, with a body length of about 16 inches and a wingspan of about 3 feet.

4. Common Black Hawk

Common Black Hawk
Scientific NameButeogallus anthracinus
Size53 cm
Weight1.85 lbs
Lifespan13.5 years

The common black hawk is a large species found in North, Central, and South America. 

The adult Common Black hawk has black plumage with some white on the belly and underside of the wings. The tail is barred with black and white.

It is found in a variety of habitats including woodlands, prairies, farmland, and near water. In Texas, the Common Black hawk is found in the eastern and central parts of the state. 

5. Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-Shouldered Hawk
Scientific NameButeo lineatus
Size43-61 cm
Weight1.34 lbs
Lifespan10-20 years

The Red-Shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) is a medium-sized hawk of the family Accipitridae. It is common throughout much of eastern North America, from Minnesota and southern Canada to central Mexico.

The Red-Shouldered Hawk gets its name from the reddish-brown plumage on the upper parts of its body. 

The undersides of the wings are pale with dark bands, and the tail is barred with a broad black band at the tip. The head is gray with a white stripe above the eye, and the chest is streaked with brown.

6. Red-Tailed Hawk

Red tailed hawk
Scientific NameButeo Jamaicensis
Size45-65 cm
Weight2.43 lbs
Lifespan10-15 years

The Red-Tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a hawk that breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West Indies. 

It is one of the most widely distributed hawks in the Americas. There are 14 recognized subspecies, which vary somewhat in size and plumage.

The plumage of the Red-tailed Hawk varies depending on the subspecies, but adults generally have light brown upperparts with dark brown streaks. The underparts are white with rusty brown streaks. The tail is usually pale below and cinnamon-red above, with a dark band at the tip.

7. Roadside Hawk

Roadside Hawk Portrait
Scientific NameRupornis magnirostris
Size33-41 cm
Weight0.45-0.77 lbs
Lifespan20 years

The Roadside hawk is a species of hawk that is found in the southern United States, specifically in Texas. 

This hawk is a small bird of prey, with a body length of only about 10 inches. It has a dark brown back and wings, with a white belly and breast.

The Roadside Hawk breeds in the spring, with the female laying a clutch of 3-5 eggs in a nest made of twigs and leaves. Both parents help to incubate the eggs and care for the young birds once they hatch.

8. Rough-Legged Hawk

Rough-Legged Hawk
Scientific NameButeo lagopus
Size46-59 cm
Weight2.16 lbs
Lifespan15 years

The Rough-Legged Hawk is a hawk that can be found in the northern regions of North America, including parts of Canada and the United States. 

This raptor gets its name from the feathered “legs” that extend beyond its feet, which give it a shaggy appearance[2]. The plumage of the Rough-Legged Hawk can vary depending on the season, but it is typically light-colored with dark streaks or bars.

The Rough-Legged Hawk is a fairly common hawk in North America, but its population has declined in recent years due to habitat loss and persecution. This raptor is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

9. Gray Hawk

Gray Hawk
Image Source
Scientific NameButeo plagiatus
Size41-50 cm
Weight0.84-1.46 lbs
Lifespan5-20 years

The gray hawk, Buteo nitidus, is a common hawk of the family Accipitridae. It ranges from southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico in the United States to central Argentina, Bolivia, and Uruguay.

Even though it is one of the smaller members of the genus Buteo, it is still a fairly large hawk, measuring 46–58 cm (18–23 in) in length with a wingspan of 95–115 cm (37–45 in). 

Adults have pale gray upperparts, paler on the head and tail, and whitish underparts with fine streaks on the breast. The cere and legs are yellow, and the eyes are dark brown.

10. Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Scientific NameAccipiter striatus
Size23-37 cm
Weight0.18 to 0.49 lbs
Lifespan5 or more years

The Sharp-shinned hawk is a small hawk native to North America. These hawks are typically found in wooded areas and forests, but can also be seen in urban and suburban areas. 

This hawk is one of the most common hawks in Texas and can be seen year-round.

The Sharp-Shinned Hawk has a blue-gray back with a white belly. The sides of the head and neck are gray, and the cheeks are white. The beak is black, and the eyes are yellow. 

Adults measure 9-13 inches in length and have a wingspan of 18-22 inches.

11. Short-Tailed Hawk

Short-Tailed Hawk
Image Source
Scientific NameButeo brachyurus
Size39-44 cm
Weight0.86-1.15 lbs
Lifespan20 years

The short-tailed hawk is a raptor of the Buteo genus, which are medium to large-sized birds of prey that are widespread throughout North and South America. 

As its name suggests, the short-tailed hawk has a relatively short tail in comparison to other hawks in its genus.

The adult plumage of the short-tailed hawk is a brownish-gray color on its back and upperwings, with white markings on the tips of its primaries (longest wing feathers). Its underparts are mostly white with some gray streaking. The tail of the short-tailed hawk is pale gray with dark bands. 

This species can reach a length of 16-20 inches and a wingspan of 36-44 inches.

12. Great Black Hawk

Great Black Hawk
Image Source
Scientific NameButeogallus anthracinus
Size56-64 cm
Weight1.15 lbs
Lifespan12 years

The Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga) is a large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It is native to Central and South America, where it ranges from Mexico to Argentina. 

This hawk is one of the largest members of the genus Buteogallus, with a body length of 54–60 cm (21–24 in) and a wingspan of 127–140 cm (50–55 in).

It is predominantly dark black or grey-black in plumage, with white on the throat, belly, and underwings. 

The great black hawk typically hunts from perches, swooping down on its prey after spotting it from above. Their diet consists mainly of small mammals and reptiles, but they will also take birds, fish, crabs, and large insects.[3]

13. Harris’s Hawk

Harris’s Hawk
Scientific NameParabuteo unicinctus
Size46-76 cm
Weight1.57-2.25 lbs
Lifespan20 years

The Harris’s hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus), is a medium-large bird of prey that breeds throughout the southwestern United States, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America. 

It is notable for its behavior of hunting cooperatively in pairs or trios, a trait more common among social birds of prey such as the African hawk eagles.

The Harris’s hawk is a relatively new species to science, having only been described in 1837 by French naturalist and explorer Jules Bourcier. 

The species is named for American ornithologist Edward Harris, who collected the first specimens of the bird in Texas.

14. Crane Hawk

Crane Hawk
Image Source
Scientific NameGeranospiza caerulescens
Size38-54 cm
Weight0.50-0.95 lbs
Lifespan12 years

The Crane Hawk is a type of hawk that can be found in Texas. It is a medium sized hawk with a long tail and long legs. The crane hawk is a powerful flyer and can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. 

It feeds on small mammals, reptiles, and insects and nests in trees where it lays 3-5 eggs at a time.

The crane hawk is a very important bird in Texas. It helps to control the populations of small mammals and reptiles. It also provides food for other predators such as eagles and owls. The crane hawk is a protected species in Texas and it is illegal to kill one.

15. Cooper’s Hawk

coopers hawk
Scientific NameAccipiter cooperii
Size35-50 cm
Weight1.17 lbs
Lifespan12 years

The Cooper’s hawk is another common type of hawk found in Texas. These predators are known for their sharp vision and hunting skills. 

Cooper’s Hawks are medium-sized birds of prey, with males averaging about 18 inches in length and females about 22 inches.

This hawk has a wide range of shades, from black to gray. The back of the Cooper’s Hawk is darker than the front, with heavy barrings on the breast and belly. Juvenile Cooper’s Hawks are brown above with streaked breasts.

16. Broad-Winged Hawk

Broad-Winged Hawk
Scientific NameButeo platypterus
Size34-44 cm
Weight.99 lbs
Lifespan12 years

The Broad-Winged hawk (Buteo platypterus) is a common hawk of the Buteo genus found in North America. Though different in plumage, it is often confused with the similar-looking Red-Shouldered Hawk. 

This hawk is Texas’ most common breeding hawk. It can be found in woodlands and forested areas throughout the state.

The broad-winged hawk is a medium-sized Buteo, with a body length of 17 to 25 cm (6.7 to 9.8 in) and a wingspan of 38 to 50 cm (15 to 20 in). Males and females look similar, but the female is about 25% larger than the male.

17. Northern Harrier

northern harrier hawk
Scientific NameCircus cyaneus
Size41-50 cm
Weight0.86 lbs
Lifespan12 years

The Northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), also called the marsh hawk, is a slender hawk of wetlands and grasslands in North America. It is the only member of the genus Circus.

This hawk is a circumpolar breeder, and is found in open habitats throughout the northern hemisphere. In North America, it breeds primarily in Canada and the northern United States, but also as far south as Florida and Mexico.

18. Swainson’s Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk
Scientific NameButeo swainsoni
Size43-56 cm
Weight1.8-2.5 lbs
Lifespan16-24 years

The Swainson’s Hawk is a species of hawk that can be found in Texas. It is a relatively large hawk, with a wingspan that can reach up to four feet. The hawk gets its name from William Swainson, who was an English naturalist.

The Swainson’s Hawk is known for its long, curved beak, which it uses to hunt for prey. The hawk’s diet consists primarily of small mammals, such as rodents and rabbits. The Swainson’s Hawk is a protected species in the United States, and it is illegal to hunt or trap them.

Where Do Hawks Live?

The most common hawk in North America is the Red-tailed Hawk. These birds of prey are found all across the continent, from Alaska and Canada to Mexico. But where do red-tailed hawks live in Texas specifically?

There are a few different types of habitats that hawks prefer. First, they like open spaces where they can see their prey. This could be a grassland, prairie, or even farmland. 

The second type of habitat that hawks prefer is the forest edge. Here, the trees provide perches and nesting sites while the open areas give them a place to hunt.

In Texas, you can find hawks in both of these habitats.

About Kaitlin Mullins

Birds are plenty, and they can be hard to keep track of. Thankfully, Katilin Mullins has taken charge of these. With plenty of free time spent bird watching, she’s a true expert on these intriguing animals.

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