California Raptor Center

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Scientific Name: Accipiter striatus
(Accipiter is Latin for hawk, striatus is Latin for ‘striped’).

Size: Length: 9-13in Wingspan: 20-26in        

Weight: Female: 144-208g (~0.31-0.46lb) Male: 82-125g (~0.18-0.28lb)

Lifespan: Expected lifespan in the wild is around 3 years, and they can live as long as 13 years, maybe more in captivity.

ID: Sharp-shinned hawks have a small head that does not protrude beyond wrists when soaring. Adults have heavily barred chests, while the juveniles are streaked. In the flight the tails of Sharp-shinned hawks are square. Adults have an overall darker coloring than the juveniles.

Hunting: Sharp-shinned eat birds and hunt for them by perching and watching. They will tail-chase birds and do excursion flights.

Prey: Their primary food source is birds. They will eat other small animals, such as mice and frogs.

Breeding: They like to build stick nests in coniferous forests and defend them fiercely. Clutches are 4 or 5 eggs in size, which hatch after approximately 35 days. The young are capable of flight after 23 days.

Range: They are partial migrators. They can be found all over the North American continent. 

Status: They are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.