8 Fearsome Species Of Hawks In North Carolina: You Must Know About

Hawks In North Carolina
Hawks in North CarolinaLengthWeightIdentification(Color)Diet/Favorite Food
Sharp-Shinned Hawk9.4-13.4 in (24-34 cm)3.1-7.7 oz (87-218 g)This hawk has a slaty blue-gray upper body, with narrow, horizontal red-orange bars on the breast.Mostly small birds and animals.
Cooper’s Hawk14.6-15.3 in (37-39 cm) to 16.5-17.7 in (42-45 cm)7.8-14.5 oz (220-410 g) to 11.6-24.0 oz (330-680 g)This hawk has a steely blue-gray upper body with warm reddish bars on the underparts and thick dark bands on the tail.Mostly small to medium birds and animals.
Northern Goshawk20.9-25.2 in (53-64 cm)22.3-48.1 oz (631-1364 g)This hawk has pale gray barred underparts and dark slate gray upper body. The color of the head is dark with a wide white stripe over the eye. Mostly small to medium birds and animals.
Red-Shouldered Hawk16.9-24.0 in (43-61 cm)17.1-27.3 oz (486-774 g)These hawks are very colorful with warm reddish barring on the breast and dark-and-white checkered wings.Mostly small birds, animals, and reptiles.
Broad-Winged Hawk 13.4-17.3 in (34-44 cm)9.3-19.8 oz (265-560 g)This hawk has a reddish-brown head, barred underbody, and broad black and white bands on the tail.Mostly small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds
Swainson’s Hawk18.9-22.1 in (48-56 cm)24.4-48.2 oz (693-1367 g)This hawk has a dark or reddish-brown chest and brown or gray upperparts. Mostly small animals and birds.
Red-Tailed Hawk 17.7-22.1 in (45-56 cm) to 19.7-25.6 in (50-65 cm)24.3-45.9 oz (690-1300 g) to 31.8-51.5 oz (900-1460 g)This hawk has a rich brown upper body and pale below, with a streaked belly and, and a dark bar between shoulder and wrist.Mostly small mammals, birds, reptiles
Rough-Legged Hawk18.5-20.5 in (47-52 cm)25.2-49.4 oz (715-1400 g)These hawks are dark-brown in color with tails that are dark at the tip and pale at the base.Mostly feed on small animals such as lemmings and voles.

Hawks In North Carolina

Sharp-shinned Hawk

The Sharp-Shinned Hawk is a ruthless bird with a penchant for preying on smaller animals and birds.

Their nests are a source of pride for them since they are often lined with twigs and bark to offer adequate insulation for their eggs.

These merciless birds, on the other hand, show no regard for nests and are infamous for abducting baby birds from nests and ripping their feathers off before devouring them.

If you want to see one of these ferocious carnivores, the Fall migration is the best time to see them.

Though they may be observed in the winter as well, they are more abundant during the transitional intervals between seasons, when they can be seen in large numbers.

For many years, the Sharp-Shinned Hawk was one of North Carolina’s most well-known hawk species.

Those figures, however, have started to erode over time. Despite the fact that they are still rather widespread, they are mostly found near the shore and against the mountains.

When it comes to hunting down these gorgeous birds, either of these locations is a great place to start, especially in the fall. Because of their migratory nature, they may be found all across the nation.

Cooper’s Hawk

The Cooper’s Hawk is a distinctive bird with a confident attitude and a medium size. This specific hawk may be found happily making nests in a variety of trees, including pines, oaks, spruces, and others.

These lovely birds prefer building secure nests that are well shielded from other birds. It might be due to the fact that they are known to eat smaller birds, yet they prefer to keep their eggs and chicks hidden.

These species are most commonly spotted during the summer months when the weather is warm.

This bird may be found all year, but when the weather is pleasant, it is known to have a considerably wider look.

The Cooper’s Hawk, like many other hawks in the region, is a big admirer of forested environments.

Because these birds are so fussy about their nests, they like to reside in regions with plenty of great, tall trees.

They love to spend their time in woods and other natural settings where they may feast on a variety of animals.

Northern Goshawk

The Northern Goshawk is a one-of-a-kind bird that may be identified in part due to its enormous size.

Though not all varieties of this bird are too large, some of them can weigh as much as a few pounds, which is a significant amount for a single bird.

Their nests are regarded as works of beauty by the general public. They are known for making a type of bowl out of thin sticks that are well insulated with vegetation and tree bark.

Finding a Northern Goshawk is tough because they are not interested in being seen. During the summer, this bird is seen a few times, it is usually in forested regions.

Despite the fact that these birds have been sighted in forested regions around the state, they are extremely elusive and tough to trace.

Although some people claim to have seen these birds in adjacent forests, verifiable sightings are rare since these birds hide in trees and at higher elevations. There has only been a handful of verified cases.

Red-Shouldered Hawk

This magnificent hawk is easily recognizable by its gorgeous copper feathers, which make it one of the most attractive hawks on the planet.

These courageous birds have been known to spend up to five weeks each year creating a good nest for their young. They labor hard to achieve perfection in their nesting efforts.

Timing is everything when it comes to discovering the Red-Shouldered Hawk in North Carolina.

These birds are most seen in the state during the conclusion of winter and the beginning of spring.

This is because they are aggressively seeking mates and are typically significantly more active at this time of year. During certain periods, they are known to be more visible and audible.

The Red-Shouldered Hawk is a proud North Carolina inhabitant that may be found in a variety of habitats.

They are most typically found in counties known for their marshes and woods. This makes them easier to see in the state’s eastern edge, although they have been known to move into other places as well. 

They’ve been spotted breeding in the suburbs, according to several locals.

Their raucous presence in densely populated suburban areas is one of the reasons that the state has approved legislation prohibiting their slaughter.

Broad-Winged Hawk

When it comes to hawks, this one is particularly interested in natural regions.

When it comes to breeding, the Broad-Winged Hawk prefers to stay concealed in deep woodlands where it will have access to a plentiful supply of food.

This is necessary for mating, nesting, and child-rearing. Despite their intimidating look, they prefer to build their nests well away from humans.

The search for the Broad-Winged Hawk is best done during the summer months. This hawk is well-known for its amazing migratory patterns. It doesn’t just move a small bit in the winter.

When winter arrives, this one-of-a-kind bird abandons the United States totally. After a cold front passes through, these birds might be seen flying in big flocks to warmer climates.

The Carolina Raptor Center is without a doubt the best place to witness a Broad-Winged Hawk. They are known to have a handful of these lovely birds in their midst.

The majority of the time, they may be found in densely wooded regions. During their migratory periods, however, it is easier to spot them as they set off on their journeys.

Over the years, there have been reported sightings in Charlotte, however, it is often too populous for them to stay.

Swainson’s Hawk

The Swainson’s Hawk, commonly known as the grasshopper hawk, is an unusual bird that eats insects as its principal source of food.

This bird enjoys the finer things in life, typically making nests towards the tops of trees. The majority of the trees are medium in size, yet it doesn’t bother these hawks.

They like to be high enough to not be harassed, but not so high that they have to go a long distance to eat their favorite bugs. It’s a lovely bird with a preference for open forests and grassy regions.

During the winter, when they travel south to South America, it’s difficult to see the Swainson’s Hawk in North Carolina. Another hawk that may be found at the Carolina Raptor Center is this one.

This is because they enjoy eating a wide variety of juicy bugs and require a large open space for hunting. On a cold day, you could get a glimpse of one of these birds grabbing up a great large grasshopper.

Red-Tailed Hawk

The Red-Tailed Hawk is a frightening bird with a massive wingspan. This bird may be seen soaring through the air with an almost absurdly wide wingspan.

Given its size, it should come as no surprise that it can frighten and devour practically any little creature.

These birds are known to build their nests in places that provide them with a clear view of the region below, allowing them to quickly drop to snare a tasty meal.

Because they’re migratory birds, you’ll often see them flying across the sky in the middle of the day in an attempt to keep warm as the weather cools.

The Red-Tailed Hawk is a huge bird that can be seen from a long distance. It has no qualms about being widely conspicuous, maybe due to its imposing posture and vast size. 

They can even be seen on telephone poles, fences, and other conspicuous locations.

They may be found lurking out on the outskirts of woodland in the evenings, waiting for a meal to appear on the ground below. You should seek out the Red-Tailed Hawk throughout the day if you want to see one. 

Rough-Legged Hawk

The Rough-Legged Hawk is a proud and protective creature who takes nesting and mating extremely seriously.

It is well-known for building nests high in the skies that look down on the world below. Other birds in the neighborhood are likely to irritate these birds, which is why they construct their nests so high.

Their strong nests are frequently reused each year, so they are built to be extremely durable and require little maintenance.

They’re more interested in locations where there aren’t many trees. Grasslands, marshlands, and other open habitats with flora on the ground are preferred instead.

The Rough-Legged Hawk is a bit of an explorer, and it’s frequently seen scouring the globe for its next meal.

If you’re having trouble finding one, stop by the Carolina Raptor Center and meet one of their local residents.

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