Accipiter striatus
(Sharp-shinned Hawk)

Order: Falconiformes
Order Description: Vultures, Osprey, Hawks, Falcons
Family: Accipitridae
Family Description: Osprey, Hawks and Eagles

Physical Description:
10-14" (25-36 cm). Notice the square, not round, tail; often notched. Adults are slate blue above, white below with rich rusty cross-barring. Undertail coverts white. Eyes red. The juveniles are brown on the back, with a few white spots, the breast is white and streaked with brown, and the eyes are yellow.

Similar Species- Cooper's Hawk, Northern Goshawk

A shrill alarm call; females have a lower pitched call than males.

Breeds from Alaska, east to Saskatchewan, Labrador, and Newfoundland, and south to South America. Winters (casually) north to southern Alaska and southern Canada, and south to Panama.

Found in forests and open woodlands (coniferousClick word for definition, mixed, or deciduousClick word for definition, but primarily coniferous in more northern and mountainous portions of range). Migrates through various habitats, mainly along ridges, lakeshores, and coastlines.

Eats mainly small- to medium-size birds, but will occasionally eat small mammals, insects, and lizards.

Builds stick nest in coniferous or deciduous tree. Oregon study found average distance between nests was 4.3 km. Captures prey in mid-air, or takes prey from its perch. Species is extensive migrant in fall in Idaho, occupying urban areas with abundant prey (primarily House Sparrows). Individual members are occasionally killed by larger raptors; species has suffered from pesticide contamination.

Female incubatesClick word for definition 4-5 eggs for 30-32 days (34-35 days has also been reported); male brings food. Young fledgeClick word for definition at 3-4.5 wk, are independent at about 7 wk, and first breed at 2 yr (sometimes as yearlingsClick word for definition).

Element Code: ABNKC12020
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.

Original images provided by Jeff Spendelow,,© 1999
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.