Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk
(Accipiter striatus)

Order:  Accipitriformes
Family:  Accipitridae

Photo credit: Alan Schmierer

Note: Markings on tail of hawk are partially obscured by shadow.

Sharp-shinned Hawk Information

Length:  10 - 14"

The Sharp-shinned Hawk inhabits coniferous or mixed forests, forest openings, forest edges, and open woodlands near brushy areas.

The diet of the Sharp-shinned Hawk consists mostly of small birds (especially, songbirds), including sparrows, finches, and warblers, as well as some medium-sized birds. It also preys on small mammals such as mice, shrews, and voles.

  Calls of the Sharp-shinned Hawk

Additional Information

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Photos, identifying characteristics, range, habitat, nesting, feeding habits, and conservation status of Sharp-shinned Hawk. (From the Raptor Center)

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

©By Ilona Loser [CC-BY-SA- 3.0]

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Identification Tips

  • Wingspan: 21 inches
  • Sexes similar, but females much larger
  • Small, broad-winged, long-tailed hawk
  • Short, dark, hooked beak
  • Long, narrow tarsi
  • Short, rounded wings
  • Long tail is squared-off at tip with prominent corners
  • Typically flies with several quick snappy wingbeats and a short glide, but also soars
  • Small rounded head does not project far beyond wings when soaring


  • Red eye
  • Black cap
  • Blue-gray back and upperwings
  • White breast, belly and underwing coverts marked by fine, thin, reddish bars
  • White undertail coverts
  • Tail, blue gray above and pale below, barred with black bands
  • Flight feathers, blue-gray above and pale below, with dark bars

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Breeding Bird Survey Map,

(Image credit: USGS)

This hawk is difficult to locate during breeding season, so its range is underrepresented on the above map.

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Range Maps from Cornell

Sharp-shinned Hawk breeding, year-round, and nonbreeding range

Includes separate map of sightings.

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Christmas Bird Count Map

Historical CBC Map from USGS