What Types of Hawks Live in North America?

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At least 17 species of hawks live in North America including the red-tailed hawk, common black hawk, Cooper’s hawk, gray hawk, rough-legged hawk and sharp-shinned hawk. Hawks tend to live in coniferous trees and wet areas. All hawk species are adapted to and can survive in a variety of habitats.

The common black hawk resides along the edges of flowing streams in the Southwestern United States. It has very broad wings and short legs. The species is vulnerable to disturbances and habitat loss, and human disturbances often lead to the abandonment of nesting areas.

Cooper’s hawk lives in woodland areas. It has blue-gray feathers with reddish bars on its underside and darker bands on its tail. Sharp-shinned hawks appear similar to Cooper’s hawk, but are smaller in size.

The gray hawk is common in Arizona and Texas. It spends time along lowland streams, feeding on lizards. Adult gray hawks are pale gray in color with dark wingtips and banded black and white tails.

The red-tailed hawk is found throughout most of North America and can acclimate to any biome within this range. These birds are reddish brown in color with pale tan undersides. There are 14 recognized subspecies of red-tailed hawks.