Hawks In Oklahoma

15 Species Of Hawks In Oklahoma

The Oklahoma of the United States (U.S.) has a diverse species of hawks. This Oklahoma City has richness in landscape and ecosystem balance providing hawks species with suitable habitats for their needs and other things.

Hawks are known as birds of prey because of their powerful eyesight, hunting techniques, and flight ability. This article will guide you to the top 15 species of hawk in Oklahoma City by emphasizing their scientific names, sizes, native places, lifespans, and other captivating details. Let’s explore their diverse species and attributes together.

Are Any of the White Birds in Florida with Long Beaks Also Found in Oklahoma?

Yes, some species of white birds in florida with long beaks can also be found in Oklahoma. These elegant birds, renowned for their unique beak shape, can traverse varying habitats and migrate to different regions. In both Florida and Oklahoma, bird enthusiasts have the opportunity to witness the graceful beauty of these white birds with long beaks in their natural habitat.

List Of 15 Species Of Hawks In Oklahoma

Every species of Hawks has its own characteristics and own features. However, they might have some similarities because they are the same species genre.

However, this section will give a brief description of every species of hawk’s characteristics, such as their scientific names, size, lifespans, and native place, along with some brief idea about their physical description, habitats, distribution, food habits and other attributes as well.

Hawk 1: Red-Tailed Hawk

  • Scientific name: Buteo jamaicensis 
  • Lifespan: around 10 to 12 years
  • Native to: North America
  • Size: 18 to 24 inches 

Red tailed Hawk birds are mostly familiar and common birds in North America. Their body is brownish black plumage along with a reddish brown tail. Their wings are around 105 to 141 cm wide, which allows them to fly effortlessly in the sky.

They prefer mixed forests, fields, woodlands, tall trees or high bluffs for their habitats and nesting and perching places. They inhabit wetlands, mountains, grasslands, and agriculture fields as well.

As birds of prey, they hunt their food and consume them. Their diet contains small mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, snakes, rodents, mice, lizards etc.

Their breeding season starts from late February through March and lasts till December. During their courtship performance, they dangle their legs, touch each other’s wings or do cartwheels together.

Hawk 2: Sharp-Shinned Hawk

  • Scientific name: Accipiter striatus 
  • Lifespan: five or more years 
  • Native to: United States, Canada 
  • Size: 9.1- 11.8 inches 

Sharp-shinned hawks are another species of hawk that are found in Oklahoma. They are also regarded as Northern sharp-shinned hawks or sharpies. The upper part of the body is dusky black, and the breasts and belly parts are brown and white with orange eyes.

They are familiar in North America, South America, and Central America during different seasons. They prefer woodlands, forests, and tropical to temperate highlands for their habitats. Sometimes they can be seen in both lowlands and highlands of tropical and subtropical areas.

They hunt their prey through dense vegetation while they are flying. Their primary diet is consistent with small birds such as songbirds, sparrows, wood warblers, finches, wrens, and thrushes. Sometimes they also eat rodents, lizards, frogs, snakes, and large insects for their food habits.

Hawk 3: Cooper’s hawk

  • Scientific name: Accipiter cooperii 
  • Lifespan: about 10 years in wild
  • Native to: North America 
  • Size: 14 to 21 inches 

Cooper’s hawk is another species of hawk in Oklahoma. They are widely familiar in North America. They also captured Southern Canada and Mexico during different seasons. Their wings are about 62 to 99 cm wide.

They are recognized as bold and aggressive predators for their unique hunting skills and techniques. Their diet has small birds, mammals, spiders, and reptiles. If they see any prey or birds in the sky, they do not catch the prey. Instead of catching, they circle nearly around the trees and sit on the porch.

Later they suddenly attack their prey and kill them. They like to be in the open fields and are familiarly found in an environment with some trees for their inhabitants.

Hawk 4: Northern Goshawk

  • Scientific name: Accipiter gentilis
  • Lifespan: about 11 years 
  • Native to: North America
  • Size: 18 to 25 inches

The northern goshawk is a similar species of hawk, having two categories: Eurasian and American goshawk. Both species are native to North America, including Europe, Asia, Spain, France, Great Britain, Morocco, Tibet, the Himalayas, and Oklahoma.

Eurasians and America prefer wooded areas, hardwood forests, and forests with certain trees for their habitats. They become vocal during their courtship days and start producing repetitive sounds. Their breeding season starts between March and April.

Female birds get extremely aggressive sometimes if male birds do not bring food during the courtship period, and they get killed by females partners. They can use their nests for several years. During incubation days, Male birds go outside and find food for the mother.

After hatching, male birds come and give food inconsistent for 3 to 5 days. Later female birds feed the young.

Hawk 5: Red-Shouldered Hawk

  • Scientific name: Buteo lineatus 
  • Lifespan: around 20 years 
  • Native to: North America, California, Mexico 
  • Size: 15 to 23 inches 

Red-shouldered hawks are another species of hawk in Oklahoma. Their ranges are widely distributed in North America, from California to Northeastern, central Mexico. Their bodies have a brownish head and reddish lower part with a dark brown and white pattern in the wings.

Their wings are about 90 to 127 cm long. In winter, they migrate from Okaloosa, Ohio, to the gulf coast for breeding purposes. Their preferable inhabitants are woodlands, hardwood stands, and open subcanny.

They are fond of small mammals, gophers, mice, chipmunks, reptiles, snakes, birds etc. They produce harsh sounds to protect their nests and territories—the young start to leave their nests around 6 weeks ahead.

Hawk 6: Broad-winged hawk

  • Scientific name: Buteo platypterus 
  • Lifespan: around 12 years
  • Native to: North America 
  • Size: 13 to 17 inches 

Broad-winged hawks have a broad wingspan among other species of the hawk family. Their wings are about 74 to 100 cm. Their upper body is dark brown plumage, and the lower part, as the belly and breasts, are dotted with a whitish brown color. Their eyes and legs are yellow.

They are familiar in North America, South America, Canada, Brazil, and Oklahoma. Later in winter, they migrate to Florida, Mexico, and Northern South America.

These species of hawks use their vocal sounds to communicate with their mates. Their diet contains insects, reptiles, Mammals, small rabbits, birds, frogs, lizards, grasshoppers, snakes, crabs, earthworms etc. They hardly drink water and can survive by consuming their prey’s water.

Hawk 7: Swainson’s Hawk

  • Scientific name: Buteo Swainsoni 
  • Lifespan: over 20 years 
  • Native to: North America 
  • Size: 17 to 22 inches

Swainson’s Hawk is another larger hawk whose wingspan is around 117 to 137 cm long. They spend their spring and summer in North America. Later they travel to South America in winter. They breed in Alberta, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, California, Oklahoma, Mexico and Colorado.

In winter, they visit or travel mostly to Mexico, including the Gulf of Mexico. Their breeding season starts around August to October. They observe their prey by watching in a tree, bush, pylon, telephone pole or other higher objects.

They use their gliding techniques for hunting prey. They hunt squirrels, mammals, lizards, reptiles, crickets, grasshoppers, and rodents for their food habits.

Hawk 8: Rough-legged Hawk

  • Scientific name: Buteo lagopus
  • Lifespan: around 19 years in the wild
  • Native to: North America, Europe, Russia 
  • Size: 18 to 27 inches 

Rough-legged medium-sized hawks are familiar in North America’s Arctic and subarctic regions. Their whole body is covered in brown and white plumage with black beaks. These hawk species migrate or travel to southern Europe and Asia in winter.

During the winter, they prefer marshes, agricultural places mostly for food sources. In the agriculture fields, rodents are available to hunt or attack. They are noted as aggressive nature birds among other hawk species.

Mostly their food habits contain mammals, voles (mice), squirrels, rabbits etc. These species are loyal to their partners and choose one mating partner for several years.

Hawk 9: Ferruginous hawk

  • Scientific name: Buteo regalis
  • Lifespan: around 20 years
  • Native to: North America 
  • Size: 20 to 28 inches (average 23 inches)

The ferruginous hawk is another species of hawk in Oklahoma City. They are associated with the broad-winged buteo hawks. They are often mistaken for an eagle by people because of their vast size. Their body has white underparts, red plumage on the back and shoulders with grey heads.

They are fond of arid and semiarid grasslands, open places in North America. Both males and females have quite similar features within themselves apart from the size because female birds are a little larger than males.

Hawk 10: Common black hawk

  • Scientific name: Buteogallus anthracinus
  • Lifespan:  around 7 years
  • Native to:  America 
  • Size: 17 to 21 inches

Common black hawks’ bodies are covered with black plumage, yellow legs, and pointed beaks. They are familiar with warmer areas of America’s southwestern United States and Central America, Peru, Trinidad, and lesser Antilles.

They prefer coastal areas, mangroves, dry wooded places, and woodlands for their habitat. They build their nests with sticks about 15 to 100 feet above the grounds in a long tree, mangroves.

They build their nests quite big and use the same nests for several years. When they reuse the nests, they make them bigger or grow bigger. Their main food is crabs, crayfish, frogs, eggs, turtles, snakes and lizards.

Hawk 11: Harris’s hawk

  • Scientific name: Parabuteo unicinctus
  • Lifespan: around 10 to 12 years in the wild; 20-25 years in captivity 
  • Native to: United States, Chile, Argentina and Brazil
  • Size: 18 to 23 inches 

Harris’s hawk is also considered a bay-winged, dusky, or wolf hawk. They are familiar with southwestern parts of the United States, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Europe. Their whole body is nut brown with white feathers on their tails.

Their legs and beaks are yellow. They prefer woodlands, semi-desert, marshes, and some trees for their habitats. They build their nests with sticks, plants, leaves and roots.

They make their nests in small trees or shrubby areas. Their prime food is mammals. Besides, they have insects, birds, snakes, rats, lizards, reptiles etc for their diet.

Hawk 12: Zone-tailed Hawk

  • Scientific name: Buteo albonotatus
  • Lifespan: not found
  • Native to: America 
  • Size: 46 to 55 inches 

Zone-tailed Hawks are the medium size birds familiar in America, including New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Central America, Colombia, Oklahoma, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru. In winter, they travel from the United States to the Caribbean Island of Trinidad.

They can adapt easily to any habitat, including dry, wet, open, closed, wooded, and dense vegetation. They often prefer dry open boscage, scrub, and humid forests for their habitation.

These species generally eat rats, mice, lizards, squirrels, and bats for their food habits. They make their nests on cliffs so no intruders can attack their territorial places.

Hawk 13: Osprey

  • Scientific name:  Pandion
  • Lifespan: around 7 to 10 years
  • Native to: South America 
  • Size: 50 to 66 cm

Osprey hawks are also regarded as sea hawks, river hawks, or fish hawks among other species. Their wings and upper part is deep glossy brown and the breasts and other lower part is white along with yellow Irish.

They are familiar in North America, Alaska, Newfoundland, Gulf Coast, and Florida. These places are their breeding spots also. Later in the winter season, these species migrate from the United States to Argentina. Their 99% diet contains fish. Besides, they consume rabbits, hares, frogs, birds, and crustaceans as well. They breed near watery areas, lakes, rivers, or coastal areas filled with water.

Hawk 14: Northern Harrier 

  • Scientific name: Circus Hudsonius 
  • Lifespan: around 16 years
  • Native to: Northern hemisphere in Canada, northernmost USA
  • Size: 16 to 20 inches 

Northern Harriers are also regarded as marsh hawks, ring tailed hawks. They have a brownish-black body and a ring pattern around their neck. They are familiar with the United States of America mostly in the North side, Mexico, and Central America.

In winter they visit the southern US. These species prefer open areas, marshes, and woodlands for their habitats. Their diet contains fish, mammals, spiders, rabbits, hares, mice, lizards, etc. Here the male species feed the young after their hatching. The child will leave the nest at around 36 days of hatching. 

Hawk 15: Short-tailed Hawk 

  • Scientific name: Buteo brachyurus
  • Lifespan: Not found
  • Native to: America 
  • Size: 30 to 44 inches 

Short-tailed Hawks are American birds that are familiar in tropical and subtropical areas of America, Brazil, Argentina, and Central America.

In winter these hawks travel to Mexico, Florida, and the United States. Their upper body is brown and the lower parts of the body are white with a short tail. They prefer savanna wooded areas near watery places for nesting and habitats.

Their prime food is small birds including small monkeys, mice, rats, bats, rodents, lizards, insects, wasps, and frogs. These hawks hunt the prey and take them to the tree or on the ground afterward they kill them. 


In conclusion, these 15 species of haws in Oklahoma have different characteristics as some are great hunters, some use different hunting techniques to catch their prey, some only feed fish and some eat small birds.

All these species have shown different characteristics that help them survive in Oklahoma’s ecological system and the environment. Similarly to Oklahoma, Georgia City has also enriched diversity in Hawks species, which helps these hawks give enough food, shelter, and breeding season according to their individual needs.

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