Size: Harris’s Hawks are 18-24 inches long, weigh 1-3 pounds and have a wingspan of 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 feet. Males are usually about 1/3 smaller than females.
Diet: These hawks hunt birds, lizards, and medium-sized mammals such as rabbits.
Lifespan: Harris’s Hawks can live for 11 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity.
Reproduction: Breeding first occurs between 1-3 years of age. Harris’s Hawks build stick nests in cacti, trees, bushes, and on man-made structures in which 2-4 eggs are laid. Incubation, lasting 31-36 days, is done primarily by the female with some assistance from the male and other birds in the family group. Young hawks fledge at 6 weeks but stay near the parental territory for about 3 months while learning to hunt from the adults.
Did You Know?
- This bird was named by John James Audubon after his friend Edward Harris. The scientific name comes from the Greek word para (meaning beside or near) and Latin words buteo (referring to broad-winged general groups of hawks), uni (meaning once) and cinctus (meaning girdled, a reference to the white band at the base of the tail).
- These hawks are known to hunt cooperatively in family groups. Because members of these family groups will assist not only in hunting but also in harassing predators, breeding pairs in a family group often have larger nestlings and will initiate second nests more frequently.