Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Accipiter striatus
The Sharp-shinned Hawk is the smallest hawks in all of North America, and one of the smallest in the entire world. Their bodies measure between 9 and 13 inches, and their short wings give them a span that tops out at only 22in! As with most birds of prey, the females are larger than the males-- in this case up to 1.3 larger!

These little birds of prey are found primarily in North and Central America, though some make their way down to South America as well. Many are year-round residents, while others migrate between the north and south. They are found primarily in forested areas.

The prey of a Sharp-shinned Hawk depends on the size of the Hawk itself. A 4in difference in body length is a pretty big deal! Songbirds make up most of their diet, but larger Hawks will go after Quails, Pigeons, and even small Falcons!

One particularly interesting fact about these birds is that they will continue to feed their offspring for quite a while after they have fledged. At first they bring the food to the nest, but eventually they feed their children while flying, passing the prey to them in mid-air.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : North, Central, and South America
Size : Length around 1ft (30cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Accipitriformes
Family : Accipitridae -- Genus : Accipiter -- Species : A. striatus
Image : NPS Photo

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