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Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

(Accipiter striatus)


(wingspan: 20’’-26’’) Sharp-shinned Hawks are a relatively small bird of prey. They have a slender, long body with a short neck and bill. Blue-gray feathers cover their wings and back while their chest and throat have red-brown bars. Their tails are long, skinny, and banded. The juveniles have brown feathers on their back and wings with brown streaks on throat and chest. They also lack the red eyes of the adults. These birds are commonly mistaken for Cooper’s Hawks.


This hawk’s diet mainly consists of small species of birds but they will occasionally prey on small rodents, bats, reptiles, and insects.


Here in Colorado, Sharp-shinned hawks stay up in the mountains during the spring and summer and come down to the plains for the winter.


These birds tend to return to the same territory year after year to breed but rarely use the same nest more than once. The female will lay four to five eggs per brood, and young will fledge about four weeks after hatch.

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