Sharp-shinned Hawk: Small hawk with blue-gray upperparts and rufous bars on white underparts. Eyes are dark red. Wings are short and rounded. Tail is long and squared with heavy bars. Legs and feet are yellow. Flight consists of rapid wing beats followed by a short glide. Often soars on thermals.
Range and Habitat
Sharp-shinned Hawk: Breeds throughout the U.S. as far north as Canada. Spends winters from northern U.S. to Argentina. Found in deciduous, coniferous, or mixed forests.
The Sharp-shinned Hawk has a large range, estimated globally at 20,600,000 square kilometers. Native to the Americas and nearby island nations, this bird prefers forest, savanna, and shrubland ecosystems. The global population of this bird has not been precisely determined but does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Sharp-shinned Hawk is Least Concern.
Adult Sharp-shinned Hawks pass food to their young in mid-air. They will hover briefly and kick the prey outward just as the fledgling arrives.
Large numbers are seen during migration. Over 11,000 were seen on one October day at Cape May Point, New Jersey.
Their common name comes from the very thin, exposed lower leg of this hawk.
A group of hawks has many collective nouns, including a "boil", "knot", "spiraling", "stream", and "tower" of hawks.