Fun Hawaiian Hawk Facts For Kids

Sonali Rawat
Nov 14, 2022 By Sonali Rawat
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde
Get to know some interesting Hawaiian hawk facts about the Near Endangered bird.

The Hawaiian hawk (Buteo solitarius) is a bird species that is native to Hawaii. They are versatile in their diet and eat small rodents, insects, and other birds.

These hawks usually hunt by perching on a tree then lunging at their prey with their claws forward and wings tucked. They live solitary lives and are very protective of their territory.

Females are larger than males and tend to stay in the nest during the incubation period, allowing males to hunt for them. These hawks have a loud shriek and can fly against strong winds, often in high altitudes.

The Hawaiian hawk used to be an endangered species but after extensive conservation efforts, they were removed from the list in January 2020. They are now classified as Near Endangered. Urbanization, destruction of their natural habitat, and hunting were the main cause of their decline.

If you find this bird fascinating, you can also check out some Cooper's hawk and common nighthawk facts too!

Hawaiian Hawk Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Hawaiian hawk?

The Hawaiian hawk (Buteo solitarius) is a loud, nesting hawk that is native to Hawaii.

What class of animal does a Hawaiian hawk belong to?

The Hawaiian hawk belongs to the Aves class of birds from the Buteo genus of the Accipitridae family.  

How many Hawaiian hawks are there in the world?

There is an approximate population range of 1100-2000 adult Hawaiian hawks in the world. In 1967, The Io Hawaiian hawk was listed as an endangered species and the population was down to the hundreds.

Since then, they have been monitored within their habitats and there have been several conservation efforts. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the bird from the endangered species list in January 2020 after the population had been stable for three decades.

Where does a Hawaiian hawk live?

The Hawaiian hawk is known to breed only on the island of Hawaii. They don't migrate and can be spotted on the islands of Maui, Kauai, and Oahu. Instead of dry shrub-filled areas, this species prefers a denser forest habitat, open savanna, or agricultural lands.

What is a Hawaiian hawk's habitat?

The Hawaiian Hawk is highly territorial of its habitat and is found in a variety of habitats on the Hawaiian islands, such as tropical moist forests, orchards, common agricultural areas, and tree plantations like papaya groves or sugarcane fields.

Who do Hawaiian hawks live with?

Hawaiian hawks are solitary birds that spend their time hunting and defending their territory alone. Adult Hawaiian hawks do have a monogamous partner for a few years or sometimes even throughout their lifetime. Despite this, they may change mates in succeeding years. The female stays in the nest during incubation, while the male goes out hunting.

How long does a Hawaiian hawk live?

Originally the Hawaiian hawk was estimated to live about 17 years. However recent data shows that they can live for at least 21 years in captivity. Thus the average lifespan of the population falls in the range of 21-30 years.

How do they reproduce?

Hawaiian hawks are nesting birds that have an incubation period of 38 days. During that time, the female stays with the eggs while the male goes hunting for food.

The eggs are usually laid during their breeding season, from March to June. After the eggs hatch, the female allows the male to meet and feed the juveniles. There can be one to three eggs in each nest and the fledglings are fully formed between July and September.

They become independent at 30 weeks and are known to breed themselves at three to four years of age. The parent couple tends to use the same nest every season.

What is their conservation status?

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2020, Hawaiian hawks are no longer an endangered species.

While they are still not listed as Least Concern, their population is more stable than before and they are now a Near Endangered species. This achievement is thanks to the continued conservation efforts of preserving forest habitats and placing prohibitions on illegal shootings that use these hawks as game birds.

Hawaiian Hawk Fun Facts

What do Hawaiian hawks look like?

Hawaiian hawks have either dark and light colors. Dark color adults have dark brown feathers all over their bodies and light color adults have dark heads, and light breasts, underwings, feet, and legs.

* Please note that this is an image of a falcon, a young hawk, not a Hawaiian hawk specifically. If you have an image of a Hawaiian hawk please let us know at

Discover facts about the Near Endangered species of the Hawaiian hawk.

How cute are they?

Hawaiian hawks are quick, agile, and quite rare since they are a native species to Hawaii. Overall, this hawk is quite cute!

How do they communicate?

Hawaiian hawks use high-pitched screeching to communicate with each other. During breeding seasons, they also use their body language and postures as mating calls.

How big is a Hawaiian hawk?

A female Hawaiian hawk is bigger than a male with an average body length of 18 in (45.7 cm) for females and 16 in (40.6 cm) for males. They are about three times the size of a sparrow.

How fast can a Hawaiian hawk fly?

The exact speed at which Hawaiian hawks fly isn't known, however, their size is on the medium side and they can quickly catch prey or defend their nest so it is safe to assume that they can fly quite fast.

How much does a Hawaiian hawk weigh?

A female Hawaiian hawk weighs about 21.3 oz (605 g) while a male weighs about 15.6 oz (441 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

A male Hawaiian hawk is known as a 'tiercel' while the female is called a 'hen'.

What would you call a baby Hawaiian hawk?

A baby Hawaiian hawk is an 'eyas'. They may also be referred to as juveniles or fledglings.

What do they eat?

Hawaiian hawks are omnivores. They usually wait for opportunities and hunt prey that range from smaller birds to mammals and insects. These birds can feed on lizards, goose, ducks, rats, mongeese, and insects.

Are they dangerous?

Hawaiian hawks are not dangerous to humans. On the contrary, they have been endangered for a long time due to human activities like urbanization, cutting down their forest habitat, and hunting.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they cannot be kept as pets.

Did you know...

One of the most interesting facts about the Hawaiian hawk is that harassment of Hawaiian hawk nests and habitats is a major problem in Hawaii. Frequently disturbed nests may force the fledglings to leave prematurely, starve, or worse, be abandoned by their parents.

What sound does the Hawaiian hawk make?

Hawaiian hawks have a high-pitched and loud shriek that sounds like 'eee-ohh', from which we get the bird's Hawaiian name: Io.

Hawaiian hawks in Hawaiian culture

The Hawaiian hawk holds a lot of importance in the culture of Hawaii. They are viewed like family or personal gods, they are also known as 'aumakua', and it is forbidden to kill or cause them any harm.

These hawks are also a royal symbol in Hawaiian legend, and they are named Iolani (meaning 'exalted hawk') after the nickname of King Kamehameha IV who ruled Hawaii in the 19th century.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the Nicobar pigeon, or the prairie falcon.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Hawaiian hawk coloring pages.

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Written by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde

Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit Shinde picture

Ankit ShindeBachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit is a Journalism and Mass Media graduate from the University of Mumbai. With experience in SEO, blog and article writing, and fiction writing, he is a versatile writer and content creator. In his free time, Ankit enjoys reading, writing, and listening to music.

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