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Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Scientific Classification
Order: Falconiformes
Binomial name
Accipiter striatus

The Sharp-shinned Hawk, Accipiter striatus, is a small hawk.

Adults have short broad wings and a long square-ended tail with dark bands. They have a dark cap, blue-grey upperparts and white underparts with red bars. They have red eyes and yellow legs. Adult females are slightly larger.

Their breeding habitat is forested areas across most of North America and parts of Central America, although they are more common in the boreal forest. They build a stick nest in a large conifer or dense group of deciduous trees.

In some parts of the United States, they are permanent residents. Northern birds migrate to the southern U.S. and south to South America.

These birds surprise and capture small birds from cover or while flying quickly through dense vegetation. They often pluck the feathers off their prey on a post or other perch. They also eat rodents, lizards, frogs, snakes and large insects.

This bird declined in numbers in the 1960s and 1970s, probably as a result of the use of DDT and other pesticides; with the ban on their use across most of its breeding range, their population has rebounded.

This bird's name comes from its flattened thin shanks.