Harris's Hawk

Parabuteo unicinctus




Kites, Eagles and Hawks (Accipitridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White to pale blue with brown and lavender marks

Number of Eggs:

2 - 4

Incubation Days:

33 - 36

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

0 - 30 feet above ground., On top of mesquite bush or in cactus.

Nest Material:

Sticks and twigs., Lined with leaves, roots, vines, moss, and grass.





Harris's Hawk: Large hawk with dark brown head, neck, back, and belly and rust-brown shoulders, underwing coverts and flanks. Tail is dark brown to almost black with white base and terminal band. Undertail coverts are white. Sexes are similar. Juvenile has streaked breast.

Range and Habitat

Harris's Hawk: Resident from south-central Arizona, southern New Mexico, and Texas, through Mexico and south into Chile, central Argentina, and Paraguay. Inhabits lowland areas, sparse woodlands, and semi-desert; prefers a moderate amount of taller vegetation. Also frequents watercourses and protected canyons.

Breeding and Nesting

Harris's Hawk: Two to four white to pale blue eggs, marked with brown or lavender, are laid in a shallow platform made of sticks and twigs, lined with green mesquite, leaves, bark, grass, weeds, roots, and moss, and built on top of a mesquite or in a cactus, Spanish bayonet, or other tree less than 30 feet above the ground. Both parents incubate the eggs for 33 to 36 days; often two broods per year.

Foraging and Feeding

Harris's Hawk: Feeds mainly on rodents such as woodrats, mice, and ground squirrels, but takes birds, often in flight, including ducks, quail, doves, rails, and gallinules; in certain regions of Mexico, its primary food is lizards.


Harris' Hawk: Utters long, harsh screams when disturbed at the nest or otherwise surprised, or when calling for food. Mild disturbance brings on an unimpressive "eee eee eee eee."

Similar Species

Harris's Hawk: Red-shouldered Hawk lacks white patch on tail base and has barred rufous underparts. Common Black Hawk lacks rufous and has shorter tail.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
Terminal bandX
Refers to the contrasting stripe at the tip of the tail.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X