Sharp-shinned Hawk

Accipiter striatus

Go Back to Field Guide
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk |  Photo: Tim Rains, NPS
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk |  Photo: Tim Rains, NPS by v8.6m

Sharp-shinned Hawk Photo Gallery

Basic Information






Sharp and shinned Hawks can grow to about 9 to 13.5 inches in length.


up to 20 years


Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) facts, habitat, range, hawk pictures and bird watching tips to help you identify the bird of prey.


Sharp-shinned Hawks are carnivores that feed primarily on songbirds but will also eat small mammals.


Aerial Dive


Migratory: Nationwide

Nest Placement


Number of Offspring

4–7 Eggs

Egg Description

Off white to pale blue, brown to red blotches

Condition at Hatching

Feeble, eyes open, white down covered

Social Status

Solitary, Flocks


16.75–22.25 in

Observation Tips

When hiking mountain trails look towards the sky for their distinctive flap and glide flight pattern.

What does the Sharp-shinned Hawk look like?

Sharp-shinned Hawks are small birds of prey. They have long square tipped tails, short rounded wings, small heads and broad shoulders. They have slate blue-gray upper bodies, reddish orange barring on the breasts and broad dark bands on their long tails.

Sharp-shinned Hawk Habitat


Sharp-shinned Hawk Facts

Sharp-Shinned Hawks are the smallest North American Hawk. They have long legs, short wings and long tails. All of which allow for bold, acrobatic flight through dense forests and the element of surprise against their songbird prey. They are common across the United States, but are migratory. Females are about one third larger than males. They use their razor sharp talons to pierce prey, and then carry it to a stump or branch to pluck its feathers before consumption. Their numbers fell dramatically before the pesticide DDT was banned.

See also