What you should know about Hawk - Harris birds

Alternative Name

Bay Winged Hawk, Heddayet Al-Araneb, Harris' Høg, Brunvinget Musvåge Scientific Name: Parabuteo unicinctus

Basic Info

The Harris Hawk is a brown or black bird, 18 to 23 inches tall, with a white rump. These hawks are classed as broadwings, and their wingspans average three and half to four and a half feet! Generally, the shoulders and thighs are a chestnut brown color. The tail is tipped by a white band. Harris Hawks weigh from one pound six ounces to two pounds ten ounces, and the females are larger than males.

Hawk - Harris birds health information

Because the Harris Hawk is so sociable, it makes a great beginners' bird, though most professional austringers do not recommend it, saying it is too easy to care for, so little can by learned from it. Harris Hawks may be flown in groups and will develop social hierarchies among themselves. They are fast but not as fast as a Goshawk, and may take the same type of quarry as a Goshawk. They form loving bonds with their handlers. Breeding The entire pack of Harris Hawks participates in raising the young. Young Harris Hawks remain at the nest and will help the parents to care for the next season's brood, which usually consists of two to five eggs. The mating pair builds a nest of sticks in a cactus or in a mesquite, paloverde, or mesquite tree. The eggs will remain in the nest for about 30 days until hatching, and are whitish with light brown spots. Harris Hawk fledglings will not begin to fly until they are about 40 to 45 days, and the entire group of Hawks assists in training, feeding, and attending them. They will not leave their parents until they are about a year old. Harris Hawks are increasingly selectively bred in captivity and bloodlines of very high quality exist. Birds with the highest intelligence and trainability as well as quickness, agility, and strength are selected. Harris Hawks become increasingly intelligent and trainable, though proper raising and handling are still essential.

Natural habitat of Hawk - Harris birds

Southern part of North America and South and Central America

What do Hawk - Harris birds eat?

Usually these groups will pull down small to medium mammals like rabbits or squirrels, though occasionally they will take lizards, quail, or small birds in flight.

Hawk - Harris behavior and personality

One of the easiest hawks to own, the Harris or Bay-Winged Hawk is also a pack animal! Friendly, intelligent, and eager to please, the Harris Hawk is nevertheless a dangerous adversary and can bring down quarry as large as a jackrabbit! The Harris Hawk prefers deserts, but adapts easily to most types of terrain. Also known as Heddayet Al-Araneb, Harris' Høg, or Brunvinget Musvåge, this bird is loved internationally for its easy-going and forgiving nature in falconry. In the wild, the Harris Hawk lives and hunts in groups of two to seven, though occasionally they will hunt alone. The Bay-Winged Hawk generally waits on a perch until it sees prey, which it will swoop onto, though in group hunting, one bird will flush the quarry while others wait to pursue it. Harris Hawks also use a group strategy in which the birds take turns chasing the prey, as in a relay race, or several Hawks will attack prey, which cannot find close cover. Generally, the Harris Hawks share the spoils on the ground, though they may carry it to a low perch. If food is scarce, Harris Hawks have been known to eat carrion. Bay-Winged Hawks love to talk to each other and make a low, hissing noise or "eee-eee" noises. Because of their family nature, falconers can fly two or more Harris Hawks at a time, and they work well in conjunction with dogs. These beautiful, smart family birds will form close, loving bonds with their handlers, and live about 15 years!

The origin of Hawk - Harris birds

North and South America

History of Hawk - Harris birds

Ranging through deserts and sparse woodlands, the Harris Hawk is found throughout the Southern part of North America and South and Central America. In the wild, coyotes and bobcats will prey on the eggs of these hawks. Most commonly known in the U.S. as Bay-Winged Hawks, they were named for Colonel Harris, a friend of the American ornithologist Audubon, who was with him at the time of their discovery. Preferred by modern falconers, the Harris Hawk is the most commonly flown hawk in the U.K.

See more | Go to birds category