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Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)


Sharp-shinned Hawks are small, slender birds of prey with short, rounded wings. Blue-gray feathers cover their back and wings while their chest and throat have reddish brown bars. Their tails are long, skinny and banded. Juveniles have brown feathers over their back and wings, with brown streaks on their throat and chest. They also lack the orange-red eyes of adults. Males average about 57% of the body mass of females, making them one of the most sexually dimorphic raptors in the U.S. These birds are commonly mistaken for Cooper's Hawks.


Sharp-shinned Hawks are highly specialized to prey on birds, which make up the majority of their diet. They will also occasionally prey on small rodents, insects, reptiles and amphibians.

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In Colorado, Sharp-shinned Hawks spend the spring and summer at higher elevations and overwinter in the plains.


These birds tend to return to the same territory each year but rarely use the same nest. Four to five eggs are laid per brood, and young fledge about four weeks after hatching.

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