Accipiter striatus - Vieillot, 1808
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Other English Common Names: sharp-shinned hawk
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Accipiter striatus Vieillot, 1808 (TSN 175304)
French Common Names: épervier brun
Spanish Common Names: Gavilán Estriado
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.771066
Element Code: ABNKC12020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae Accipiter
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Remsen, J. V., Jr., A. Jaramillo, M. Nores, J. F. Pacheco, M. B. Robbins, T. S. Schulenberg, F. G. Stiles, J. M. C. da Silva, D. F. Stotz, and K. J. Zimmer. Version: 21 March 2005. A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists' Union. Online. Available:
Concept Reference Code: N05REM01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Accipiter striatus
Taxonomic Comments: The resident Latin American forms have been treated as three distinct species (Accipiter chionogaster [northern Middle America], Accipiter ventralis [Andes], and Accipiter erythronemius [Brazil through southeastern South America]), but there are no published data supporting this split.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 22Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large breeding range extending from North America to South America; plenty of good habitat; no compelling evidence of decline or imminent threats.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5N,N5M (29Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S3B,S4N), Alaska (S4B,S3N), Arizona (S4), Arkansas (S1S2B), California (S4), Colorado (S3S4B,S4N), Connecticut (S2B), Delaware (S1B,S4N), District of Columbia (S3N,SHB), Florida (SNRN), Georgia (S4), Idaho (S4), Illinois (S1S2), Indiana (S2B), Iowa (S3N), Kansas (S1B,S4N), Kentucky (S3B,S4N), Louisiana (S1S2B,S4N), Maine (S3S4B,S2S3N), Maryland (S1S2B), Massachusetts (S2B,S5N), Michigan (S3), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (S1?B), Missouri (S2), Montana (S4B), Navajo Nation (S3S4), Nebraska (S1), Nevada (S3), New Hampshire (S4), New Jersey (S3B,S3N), New Mexico (S4B,S4N), New York (S4), North Carolina (S2?B,S4N), North Dakota (SNRB), Ohio (S3), Oklahoma (S4N), Oregon (S4), Pennsylvania (S4B,S5N), Rhode Island (SHB), South Carolina (S2N), South Dakota (S3B,S3N), Tennessee (S3B,S4N), Texas (S2B,S3N), Utah (S4), Vermont (S3B,S3N), Virginia (S3S4), Washington (S3S4B,S4N), West Virginia (S3B,S4N), Wisconsin (S3B), Wyoming (S4)
Canada Alberta (S4B), British Columbia (S5B,S5N), Labrador (S3S4B,SUM), Manitoba (S5B), New Brunswick (S4B,S5M), Newfoundland Island (S4), Northwest Territories (S5B), Nova Scotia (S5), Nunavut (SUB,SUM), Ontario (S5), Prince Edward Island (S4B), Quebec (S4S5), Saskatchewan (S4B,S4M,S2N), Yukon Territory (S4B)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS
Comments on USESA: Subspecies venator of Puerto Rico is listed by USFWS as Endangered (Federal Register, 9 September 1994).
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Not at Risk (01Apr1997)
Comments on COSEWIC: Reason for designation: Population abundant and widespread. No indication of decline in most areas of the country.

Status history: Designated Not at Risk in April 1986 and in April 1997.

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix II

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDS: western and central Alaska to northern Saskatchewan, southern Labrador, and Newfoundland, south to South America. NORTHERN WINTER: north to southern Alaska and southern Canada (casually). U.S. and Canadian populations winter south to Panama and West Indies. RESIDENT populations occur in Middle and South America (northwestern Venezuela, south in Andes to northern Argentina; Paraguay to southeastern Brazil, Uruguay) and Puerto Rico (AOU 1983, Sibley and Monroe 1990).

Number of Occurrences: > 300

Population Size: 10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Very difficult to estimate population numbers; no range-wide census available. Regional estimates range from 30,100 for U.S. wintering population (Johnsgard 1990) to 500,000-1,000,000 breeding pairs in Canada (Kirk et al. 1995).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Preference for young dense forest stands in boreal forest provides the species with a large area of suitable habitat, perhaps the northern 2/3 of its breeding range, that, until recently, had not been greatly affected by development or deforestation. However, logging in the boreal forest is increasing dramatically. Habitat is more threatened on the southern periphery of the breeding range, where habitat is marginal or scarce, and human populations are larger. Organochlorines remain a threat for some birds. Even though now banned in the United States, these pesticides are still widely employed in Latin America where sharp-shins and many of their prey species spend the winter (Evans 1982). As recently as the early 1980s Meyer (1987) observed one nest failure in Canada clearly related to organochlorine residues: only one egg was laid in this nest and after it failed to hatch its shell thickness was found to be 23% below normal. Subsequent assays for organochlorine residues in the egg tissues were positive. Meyer speculated that the parents became contaminated either when they wintered south of the United States or when they fed on prey species that had wintered there. This may be the explanation for why breeding sharp-shins showed only a modest upswing during the 1970s (Robbins 1986), however, no one has studied the extent of the current threat of pesticides for sharp-shins. In addition, one death of a sharp-shinned was attributed to organophosphate pesticide poisoning (Johnsgard 1990). Shooting also continues to be a threat south of the U.S. and illegally, in the U.S., but the magnitude of the problem has not been evaluated.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: In Canada, stable or increasing (Flood and Bortolotti, 1986 COSEWIC report), with declines noted in some areas (Kirk et al. 1995). Current trends are difficult to discern from migration data. Peterjohn (1992) noted that some migration counts are down and some are not, so that overall, no clear trends emerge for the species. There was no consistent trend in migration counts in eastern North America, 1972-1987 (Titus and Fuller 1990). Data from breeding populations must also be evaluated, because migration counts do not always correlate with known changes in breeding populations (Rosenfield et al. 1991). For example, Robbins (1986) reported only a modest upswing in the U.S. breeding population size in the 1970s. Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data are of limited use because this species is only rarely detected.
In a survey by the National Wildlife Federation of midwest state agencies, only Indiana reported an increasing trend, while Michigan and Kansas reported stable populations and other states reported that trends were unknown (Rosenfield et al. 1991). Responses to a 1992 questionnaire sent to Heritage program biologists indicated possible increases in breeding populations in Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, Quebec, and South Carolina, possible declines in Arkansas, California, and Maryland, and apparent stability in Indiana, Montana, Missouri, Nevada, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. Trends were unknown in 17 other states/provinces (Soule, unpublished data). In summary, what little information is available suggests that populations recovered substantially from declines by the 1970s and currently, the overall North American population is probably stable.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: Populations in North America apparently declined in the DDT era around the mid-1900s, but increased in the late 1960s and early 1970s (Spofford 1969, Brown 1973, Snyder et al. 1973, Bednarz et al. 1990, Rosenfield et al. 1991). Bednarz et al. (1990), using 1935-1987 migration data from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Pennsylvania, and adjusting for number of viewer-hours, dated the period of decline to about 1950 to 1964. Apparently recovered fairly rapidly and appeared to reach or surpass 1930s levels by the late 1970s (Bednarz et al. 1990). The recovery began prior to the U.S. ban of DDT, but coincided with marked reduction in use of DDT in Canada, where the majority of the species breeds.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Inventory, via surveys specifically directed at this species is needed rangewide to establish population baseline data for the purpose of future tracking and detection of trends.

Protection Needs: Near the southern edge of the breeding range, protection of nesting habitat is important to assure that the population is maintained.

Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: western and central Alaska to northern Saskatchewan, southern Labrador, and Newfoundland, south to South America. NORTHERN WINTER: north to southern Alaska and southern Canada (casually). U.S. and Canadian populations winter south to Panama and West Indies. RESIDENT populations occur in Middle and South America (northwestern Venezuela, south in Andes to northern Argentina; Paraguay to southeastern Brazil, Uruguay) and Puerto Rico (AOU 1983, Sibley and Monroe 1990).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; NatureServe, 2004; WILDSPACETM 2002; WWF-US, 2000

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AR Cleburne (05023), Newton (05101), Pope (05115)
CA Alameda (06001), Calaveras (06009), El Dorado (06017), Humboldt (06023), Mendocino (06045), Napa (06055), San Benito (06069), San Luis Obispo (06079), Tuolumne (06109)
CT Fairfield (09001), Hartford (09003), Litchfield (09005), Windham (09015)*
ID Ada (16001), Adams (16003), Bannock (16005), Bear Lake (16007), Benewah (16009), Bingham (16011), Blaine (16013), Boise (16015), Bonner (16017), Bonneville (16019), Boundary (16021), Butte (16023), Camas (16025), Canyon (16027), Caribou (16029), Cassia (16031), Clark (16033), Clearwater (16035), Custer (16037), Elmore (16039), Fremont (16043), Gem (16045), Gooding (16047), Idaho (16049), Jefferson (16051), Jerome (16053), Kootenai (16055), Latah (16057), Lemhi (16059), Lewis (16061), Lincoln (16063), Madison (16065), Minidoka (16067), Nez Perce (16069), Oneida (16071), Owyhee (16073), Payette (16075), Power (16077), Shoshone (16079), Teton (16081), Twin Falls (16083), Valley (16085), Washington (16087)
IN Brown (18013), Crawford (18025), Gibson (18051), Harrison (18061), Jackson (18071), Lagrange (18087), Lawrence (18093), Marshall (18099), Martin (18101), Monroe (18105), Montgomery (18107), Morgan (18109), Owen (18119), Perry (18123), Pike (18125), St. Joseph (18141), Vigo (18167)
KS Geary (20061)
KY Adair (21001), Allen (21003), Anderson (21005), Barren (21009), Bath (21011), Bracken (21023), Breathitt (21025), Calloway (21035), Clay (21051), Clinton (21053), Cumberland (21057), Fleming (21069), Franklin (21073), Garrard (21079), Grayson (21085), Hancock (21091), Hardin (21093), Harlan (21095), Harrison (21097), Jefferson (21111), Jessamine (21113), Johnson (21115), Knox (21121), Laurel (21125), Lawrence (21127), Letcher (21133), Lewis (21135), McCracken (21145), McCreary (21147), Meade (21163), Menifee (21165), Monroe (21171), Montgomery (21173), Morgan (21175), Nicholas (21181), Ohio (21183), Pendleton (21191), Perry (21193), Pike (21195), Pulaski (21199), Rowan (21205), Russell (21207), Shelby (21211), Trigg (21221), Wayne (21231), Whitley (21235), Wolfe (21237)
MA Barnstable (25001), Berkshire (25003), Bristol (25005)*, Dukes (25007)*, Essex (25009), Franklin (25011)*, Hampden (25013)*, Hampshire (25015)*, Middlesex (25017)*, Norfolk (25021)*, Plymouth (25023), Suffolk (25025)*, Worcester (25027)*
MD Allegany (24001), Baltimore County (24005), Garrett (24023)
MO Bates (29013), Carter (29035), Franklin (29071), Greene (29077), Ozark (29153), Phelps (29161), Pulaski (29169), Reynolds (29179), Saline (29195), Shannon (29203), Ste. Genevieve (29186), Texas (29215), Washington (29221)
MS Harrison (28047)*, Jones (28067), Tishomingo (28141)*, Wayne (28153)
NC Avery (37011), Caldwell (37027), Durham (37063)*, Jackson (37099), Mitchell (37121)*, Orange (37135), Watauga (37189), Yancey (37199)*
NE Boyd (31015), Brown (31017), Cherry (31031), Custer (31041), Dawes (31045), Holt (31089), Madison (31119), Merrick (31121), Sherman (31163), Sioux (31165), Valley (31175)
NJ Atlantic (34001), Cape May (34009), Cumberland (34011), Gloucester (34015), Hunterdon (34019), Mercer (34021), Middlesex (34023), Monmouth (34025), Morris (34027), Passaic (34031), Somerset (34035), Sussex (34037), Warren (34041)
OH Adams (39001), Ashland (39005), Athens (39009)*, Carroll (39019), Columbiana (39029), Gallia (39053), Geauga (39055), Hamilton (39061)*, Harrison (39067), Jefferson (39081), Lake (39085), Lawrence (39087), Licking (39089), Lucas (39095), Mercer (39107), Montgomery (39113), Morgan (39115), Paulding (39125), Pickaway (39129), Pike (39131), Portage (39133), Shelby (39149), Summit (39153), Vinton (39163)*, Washington (39167)*
PA Bradford (42015), Chester (42029)*, Monroe (42089)*, Pike (42103)*, Wayne (42127)*
SD Custer (46033)*, Harding (46063), Lawrence (46081)
TN Bledsoe (47007)*, Campbell (47013), Carter (47019), Cheatham (47021)*, Franklin (47051), Gibson (47053), Hamilton (47065), Knox (47093), Macon (47111)*, Roane (47145), Sevier (47155)*, Williamson (47187)*
VA Grayson (51077)*, Scott (51169)*, Smyth (51173)*, Washington (51191)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Merrimack (01070002)+*, Nashua (01070004)+*, Middle Connecticut (01080201)+*, Miller (01080202)+*, Deerfield (01080203)+*, Lower Connecticut (01080205)+, Farmington (01080207)+, Charles (01090001)+, Cape Cod (01090002)+, Shetucket (01100002)+*, Housatonic (01100005)+, Saugatuck (01100006)+
02 Hudson-Hoosic (02020003)+*, Rondout (02020007)+, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+, Sandy Hook-Staten Island (02030104)+, Raritan (02030105)+, Lackawaxen (02040103)+*, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+, Lehigh (02040106)+*, Lower Delaware (02040202)+, Schuylkill (02040203)+*, Brandywine-Christina (02040205)+*, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+, Upper Susquehanna-Tunkhannock (02050106)+, Gunpowder-Patapsco (02060003)+, North Branch Potomac (02070002)+, Cacapon-Town (02070003)+
03 Upper Neuse (03020201)+, Haw (03030002)+*, Upper Catawba (03050101)+, Lower Leaf (03170005)+, Mississippi Coastal (03170009)+*
04 St. Joseph (04050001)+, Upper Maumee (04100005)+, Lower Maumee (04100009)+, Cuyahoga (04110002)+, Ashtabula-Chagrin (04110003)+, Grand (04110004)+
05 Youghiogheny (05020006)+, Upper Ohio (05030101)+, Mahoning (05030103)+, Little Muskingum-Middle Island (05030201)+*, Hocking (05030204)+*, Tuscarawas (05040001)+, Mohican (05040002)+, Muskingum (05040004)+, Licking (05040006)+, Upper New (05050001)+*, Lower Scioto (05060002)+, Upper Levisa (05070202)+, Big Sandy (05070204)+, Upper Great Miami (05080001)+, Lower Great Miami (05080002)+, Raccoon-Symmes (05090101)+, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+, Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203)+*, Licking (05100101)+, South Fork Licking (05100102)+, North Fork Kentucky (05100201)+, South Fork Kentucky (05100203)+, Lower Kentucky (05100205)+, Barren (05110002)+, Rough (05110004)+, Upper Wabash (05120101)+, Sugar (05120110)+, Middle Wabash-Busseron (05120111)+, Upper White (05120201)+, Lower White (05120202)+, Muscatatuck (05120207)+, Lower East Fork White (05120208)+, Patoka (05120209)+, Upper Cumberland (05130101)+, Rockcastle (05130102)+, Upper Cumberland-Lake Cumberland (05130103)+, South Fork Cumberland (05130104)+, Caney (05130108)+*, Harpeth (05130204)+*, Lower Cumberland (05130205)+, Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101)+, Salt (05140102)+, Rolling Fork (05140103)+, Blue-Sinking (05140104)+, Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon (05140201)+, Lower Ohio (05140206)+
06 North Fork Holston (06010101)+*, South Fork Holston (06010102)+*, Watauga (06010103)+, Lower French Broad (06010107)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+*, Watts Bar Lake (06010201)+, Tuckasegee (06010203)+, Upper Clinch (06010205)+, Powell (06010206)+*, Lower Clinch (06010207)+, Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga (06020001)+, Guntersville Lake (06030001)+*, Upper Elk (06030003)+, Pickwick Lake (06030005)+*, Lower Tennessee-Beech (06040001)+*, Kentucky Lake (06040005)+, Lower Tennessee (06040006)+
07 Kankakee (07120001)+, Cahokia-Joachim (07140101)+, Meramec (07140102)+
08 South Fork Obion (08010203)+
10 Beaver (10120107)+*, Redwater (10120203)+, Upper Moreau (10130305)+, Upper White (10140201)+, Niobrara Headwaters (10150002)+, Middle Niobrara (10150004)+, Snake (10150005)+, Lower Niobrara (10150007)+, Middle Platte-Prairie (10200103)+, Lower Middle Loup (10210003)+, Upper Elkhorn (10220001)+, North Fork Elkhorn (10220002)+, Lower Republican (10250017)+, Harry S. Missouri (10290105)+, Sac (10290106)+, Lower Osage (10290111)+, Upper Gasconade (10290201)+, Big Piney (10290202)+, Lower Gasconade (10290203)+, Lower Missouri-Crooked (10300101)+
11 Bull Shoals Lake (11010003)+, Buffalo (11010005)+, Upper Black (11010007)+, Current (11010008)+, Dardanelle Reservoir (11110202)+, Lake Conway-Point Remove (11110203)+, Cadron (11110205)+
16 Bear Lake (16010201)+, Curlew Valley (16020309)+, Lake Tahoe (16050101)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Lower Clark Fork (17010213)+, Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+, Priest (17010215)+, Upper Coeur D'alene (17010301)+, Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+, St. Joe (17010304)+, Upper Spokane (17010305)+, Palisades (17040104)+, Idaho Falls (17040201)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Lower Henrys (17040203)+, Teton (17040204)+, Willow (17040205)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Blackfoot (17040207)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Raft (17040210)+, Goose (17040211)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Salmon Falls (17040213)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, Birch (17040216)+, Little Lost (17040217)+, Big Lost (17040218)+, Big Wood (17040219)+, Camas (17040220)+, Little Wood (17040221)+, C. J. Idaho (17050101)+, Bruneau (17050102)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Upper Owyhee (17050104)+, Jordan (17050108)+, North and Middle Forks Boise (17050111)+, Boise-Mores (17050112)+, South Fork Boise (17050113)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Middle Snake-Payette (17050115)+, South Fork Payette (17050120)+, Middle Fork Payette (17050121)+, Payette (17050122)+, North Fork Payette (17050123)+, Weiser (17050124)+, Brownlee Reservoir (17050201)+, Hells Canyon (17060101)+, Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103)+, Lower Snake-Tucannon (17060107)+, Palouse (17060108)+, Upper Salmon (17060201)+, Middle Salmon-Panther (17060203)+, Lemhi (17060204)+, South Fork Salmon (17060208)+, Lower Salmon (17060209)+, Little Salmon (17060210)+, Upper Selway (17060301)+, Lochsa (17060303)+, Middle Fork Clearwater (17060304)+, South Fork Clearwater (17060305)+, Clearwater (17060306)+, Upper North Fork Clearwater (17060307)+, Lower North Fork Clearwater (17060308)+
18 Mad-Redwood (18010102)+, Lower Eel (18010105)+, Mattole (18010107)+, Big-Navarro-Garcia (18010108)+, South Fork American (18020129)+, Upper Stanislaus (18040010)+, Upper Mokelumne (18040012)+, San Pablo Bay (18050002)+, San Francisco Bay (18050004)+, Salinas (18060005)+, Central Coastal (18060006)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A robin- to pigeon-sized woodland hawk.
Reproduction Comments: Clutch size commonly is 4-5 (but average 2.6 in Puerto Rico). Incubation lasts 30-32 days (34-35 days also reported), mainly by female (male brings food). Young fledge at 3-4.5 weeks, independent at about 7 weeks. First breeds: usually 2 years (sometimes as yearling).
Ecology Comments: In Puerto Rico, breeding density in suitable habitat 1 individual per sq km (Delannoy and Cruz 1988); average distance between nests was 4.3 km in Oregon (see Palmer 1988).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Northern populations are migratory, usually arrive in nesting areas by April-May; southward migration occurs August-October in Canada and northern U.S. Arrives in Costa Rica by mid-October, remains until March (Stiles and Skutch 1989). High proportion of birds banded in Minnesota were recovered in Mexico and Central America in late fall-winter. See Palmer (1988) for more detail. Often aggregates during migration.
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Old field, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Forest and open woodland, coniferous, mixed, or deciduous, primarily in coniferous in more northern and mountainous portion of range (AOU 1983). Primary habitat is boreal forest, with the greatest nesting densities occurring in eastern Canada. Young, dense, mixed or coniferous woodlands are preferred for nesting (Platt 1976, Reynolds et al. 1982, Meyer 1987). Where conifers are scarce, as in the prairie regions, cottonwoods, poplars, and other members of the Betulaceae may be used (Bent 1937). Migrates through various habitats, mainly along ridges, lakeshores, and coastlines (NGS 1983). Nests usually in tree crotch or on branch next to trunk, most often 3-18 m up, hidden by thick foliage, usually in conifer in north. May build new nest, reuse old one, or modify old bird or squirrel nest. Nests generally seem to be in a stand of dense conifers near a forest opening, though this may reflect observer bias (Meyer 1987). Pairs apparently remain faithful to nesting areas for several years, although a new nest is usually constructed each season. However, this may not be universally true (Herron et al., 1985, stated that pairs are not faithful to a nest site).

In Nevada, nesting occurs at elevations of 6500-9000 feet, intermediate between Cooper's below, and goshawks above (Herron et al. 1985).

One study quantified habitat parameters for nest sites in pine plantations in Missouri (Wiggers and Kritz 1991). The nest sites were characterized as medium age (25-49 yr), with high tree density (1370 trees/ha), basal area (37 sq m per ha), and percentage canopy coverage (82%). Nest trees were usually of normal growth form and nests were in the canopy. In this study, Cooper's hawks also nested in the same type of habitat, with essentially the same characteristics, but chose deformed nest trees most often and placed nests below canopy. Sharp-shin nesting sites were in stands averaging 11.8 ha compared to an average of 4.1 ha for Cooper's hawks in pine stands or 53 ha for Cooper's in hardwood habitat (Wiggers and Kritz 1991).

The foraging habitat during the breeding season is essentially the same as that chosen for nesting, and the birds appear to avoid open, deciduous forests, at least in Canada (Meyer 1987). During the winter, however, the males tend to hunt most frequently along hedgerows, field edges and other ecotonal habitats, while females usually stick to extensive stands of forest or riparian areas (Meyer 1987).

Adult Food Habits: Carnivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore
Food Comments: Eats mainly small to medium-sized birds; occasionally small mammals, insects, lizards, etc. Hunts from inconspicuous perch or by stealthy flights along paths and around bushes and trees (Evans 1982). In Colorado, nestling and fledgling birds were common prey items when hawks were feeding young (Joy et al., 1994, Condor 96:455-467).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 36 centimeters
Weight: 174 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary
Biological Research Needs: For future protection efforts it will be necessary to know minimum area of habitat needed for protection, more details on critical habitat variables (e.g., do nest sites need to be near streams?), impacts of pesticides from the Neotropics, and effective survey methods.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Hawks and Falcons

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Feeding Area, Nest Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Mapping Guidance: If nest site is separated from feeding area by more than 100 meters, map as separate polygons.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance a compromise between usually relatively small home ranges and obvious mobility of these birds. Home ranges variable, ranging from about 0.5 to about 90 square kilometers; the latter figure refers to nests where birds commuted some distance to feeding grounds. A number of studies give mean home ranges on the order of 7 square kilometers, which equates to a circle with a diameter of about 3 kilometers; three times that home range gives a separation distance of about 10 kilometers. Home ranges: Ferruginous Hawk, mean 5.9 square kilometers in Utah (Smith and Murphy 1973); range 2.4 to 21.7 square kilometers, mean 7.0 square kilometers in Idaho (Olendorff 1993); mean 7.6 square kilometers in Idaho (McAnnis 1990); mean 90 square kilometers in Washington (Leary et al. 1998); Red-tailed Hawk, most forage within 3 kilometers of nest (Kochert 1986); mean spring and summer male home ranges 148 hectares (Petersen 1979); Hawaiian Hawk, 48 to 608 hectares (n = 16; Clarkson and Laniawe 2000); Zone-tailed Hawk, little information, apparent home range 1-2 kilometers/pair in west Texas (Johnson et al. 2000); White tailed Kite, rarely hunts more than 0.8 kilometers from nest (Hawbecker 1942); Prairie Falcon, 26 square kilometers in Wyoming (Craighead and Craighead 1956), 59 to 314 square kilometers (reported by Steenhof 1998); Aplomado Falcon, 2.6 to 9.0 square kilometers (n = 5, Hector 1988), 3.3 to 21.4 square kilometers (n = 10, Montoya et al. 1997). Nest site fidelity: high in Zone-tailed Hawk; all seven west Texas nesting territories occupied in 1975 were reused in 1976 (Matteson and Riley 1981). Swainson's Hawk: In California, dispersal distances from natal sites to subsequent breeding sites ranged from 0 to 18 kilometers, mean 8.8 kilometers (Woodbridge et al. 1995); in contrast, none of 697 nestlings in Saskatchewan returned to the study area; three were found 190, 200 and 310 kilometers away (Houston and Schmutz 1995).
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Foraging range variable; 3 kilometers is the mean diameter in several species.
Date: 13Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging area, Roosting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of wintering birds (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, usually minimally a reliable observation of 5 birds (this can be reduced to 1 individual for rarer species). Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. However, occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 15Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 17Sep1992
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Soule, J. D., and G. Hammerson
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 29Mar1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

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