Fun Harris's Hawk Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Harris's Hawk Facts For Kids

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Harris's hawks are also called bay-winged hawks, dusky hawks, or peuco (in Latin America). These North American birds are widely used for falconry as they are birds of prey. These predators are well known for hunting in groups. These hunting groups consist of Harris's hawks as well as humans. They live on trees and tall structures. Their population has significantly decreased over the past few years. At some places even after the loss of habitat, their population was seen to be undisturbed; but that was not the case in Texas.

These powerful birds of prey are capable of harassing any animal that poses a threat to their nest. Here are some fascinating Harris's hawk facts about these fascinating raptors and various Harris's hawk adaptations. Thereafter, do check our other animal fact files on chicken hawks and ferruginous hawks as well.

Fun Harris's Hawk Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Rabbits, Rodents, Birds, Lizards

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1-5 eggs

How much do they weigh?

1.2-3.6lb (0.5 - 1.6 kg)

How long are they?

18-24 in (45.7 - 60.96 cm)

How tall are they?

40-48 in (wingspan) (101.6 - 121.9 cm)

What do they look like?

Dark brown, Reddish-Brown, Feathers

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Humans, Coyotes, Great-horned Owls

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Savannah, Wetlands, Desert Lowlands


Southwestern United States, Chile









Harris's Hawk Interesting Facts

What type of animal is the Harris's hawk?

A Harris's hawk is a bird. These hawks can easily feed on their prey that is heavy, like rabbits and other rodents. They can fly from a great distance and at an incredible pace.

What class of animal does the Harris's hawk belong to?

A Harris's hawk belongs to the class Aves. They are a kind of bird meaning that their front limbs morphed into wings which they use to fly.

How many Harris's hawks are there in the world?

The world population of Harris's hawks is estimated to be more than 900,000. Even with habitat loss, their population has not been affected much.

Where does a Harris's hawk live?

A Harris's hawk lives in woods, deserts, savannah, and wetlands. They can be found living with humans on farms as well. Commonly, they are found in the saguaro cactus desert in Arizona and in mesquite brushland in Texas and New Mexico. North American species of these birds are also found.

What is a Harris hawk's habitat?

A Harris's hawk's habitat consists of the top of trees, boulders, power poles, and other heightened structures. The Harris's hawks choose a permanent residence as they are not migratory birds. Often they are spotted far away from their nesting area in search of food. The nests of the Harris's hawk are built on high surfaces such as tall trees. The height gives them an edge over other predators as they can keep a lookout. These birds locate their nests near a water source so that they can have quick and easy access to drinking water.

Who do Harris's hawks live with?

Harris's hawks are birds who live in groups with their own kind and other birds of prey.

How long does a Harris's hawk live?

A Harris's hawk can live for 10-12 years in the wild and around 20-25 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Harris's hawks are known to be monogamous i.e. they have a single mating partner with whom they nest. In the case of males, that is completely true, but females are known to have more than one partner. They can produce two or three clutches of eggs every single year. The female Harris's hawks can lay up to five eggs at a time. The Harris's hawk eggs usually are 2.1 in (5.3 cm) long and have a width of 1.6 in (4.06 cm). The incubation period for the Harris's hawk eggs is 31-36 days. After the hatching of the eggs, the young Harris's hawk chicks are known to have a nesting period of 41-44 days. After the end of the nestling period, the young ones stay with their parents up to the age of three years. The groups of young Harris's hawks help with the nesting of the newborns.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of a Harris's hawk is of Least Concern according to the IUCN.

Harris's Hawk Fun Facts

What do Harris's hawks look like?

Harris's Hawk

The Harris's hawk is a huge bird. These are dark brown-colored birds. Their wings have reddish-brown feathers near their shoulders. Similar feathers are present above their legs. Their legs are long and yellow and have tough skin. Their beak is yellow too with a black tip. They have a white terminal band on their tail.

How cute are they?

Harris's hawks are very cute, but also very powerful birds.

How do they communicate?

Harris's hawks have very low and harsh vocals. They use vocals when with their family, but when their family is hunting together, they choose to use gestures to communicate so that they don’t scare away the prey. Biologists believe that they use their tail, more specifically the white terminal bands on their tail, to send out silent signals.

How big is a Harris's hawk?

Harris’s hawks are 18-24 in (45.7-60.96 cm) long. These birds of prey have a height of around 12-15 in (30.48-38.1 cm). Their wingspan is almost double their body length. They are 10 times bigger than a common sparrow.

How fast can a Harris's hawk ​fly

Harris's hawks can fly at a top speed of 120 mph (193.1 kph), generally when diving to catch their prey. Hawks have always been to fly at such an incredible pace over considerable distances.

How much does a Harris's hawk weigh?

Harris's hawks weigh between 1.2-2.6 lb (0.5 - 1.17 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male Harris's hawks are called tiercels, and the female Harris's hawks are called hens.

What would you call a baby Harris's hawk?

The baby Harris's hawks are called eyas or chicks.

What do they eat?

The Harris's hawks hunt and prey on rabbits, rodents, birds, and lizards. The Harris's hawk's diet also includes small mammals.

Are they dangerous?

The Harris's hawk is not particularly dangerous to humans, but they are birds of prey and there have been instances when this species has attacked humans. However, this has often had an explanation, such as the humans hunting these birds or searching their nests for eggs.

Would they make a good pet?

Not really, you must be well-trained and own a permit to own a Harris's hawk. Under an experienced trainer, they are quick learners and can follow instructions very efficiently, but the majority of people cannot keep this bird of prey as a pet. 

Did you know...

Harris's hawks are a characteristic bird in Texas.

Female Harris's hawks are bigger than the males.

Harris's hawks have gotten themselves a nickname ‘wolves of the sky’ due to their tendency to hunt in groups with their family.

The Harris's hawk subspecies includes three types of hawks viz. u. Superior found in Arizona, u. Harrisi found in Texas and u. Unicinctus found in South America.

The South American species of Harris's hawk are smaller than the North American birds of the species.

In Texas, Harris's hawks are found at elevations of up to 2,800 ft (853.44 m).

The Harris's hawk's Adaptations

Harris's hawks are gifted individuals on the vision front. They have excellent vision, which comes in handy when they hunt with their family. These birds have eight times better vision than humans coupled with their gorgeous wings. Due to deforestation, these birds have lost their habitat, their nests and also face a severe lack of prey in the wilds. Thus, to obtain prey, they have adapted to the technique of cooperative hunting. Cooperative hunting is done in groups. Some individuals have the role of bringing the prey out into the open, while others are ready to attack the signal of the bird guide. Another of their adaptations is long wings. Their long wings support swift and agile flights, which are best suited for hunting.

Looking after your Harris's hawk

Many experienced falconers look to buy Harris's hawks when they are young. This gives the handler and the young Harris's hawk a chance to properly bond from the beginning. Before starting their training, a handler should remember not to over-train these birds. Overtraining them is never good and they should not be dependent on their trainer for food. A good handler will let them learn that they are predators and should be obtaining their own food. 

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 sparrowhawk facts, or Cooper’s hawk facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Harris hawk coloring pages.

Written By
Kidadl Team

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