All Hawks in Texas with Pictures

We are thrilled to provide you with visuals and data of the foremost observed hawks in Texas. Our team gathered this information exclusively from reputable sources, then confirmed it all by a distinguished Ornithologist.

Red-tailed Hawks

Red-tailed Hawk

(Buteo jamaicensis) are one of the most common raptors found in Texas. They have a distinctive rusty red tail and can be recognized by their broad, rounded wings, long legs and large, hooked bill with bright yellow eyes. These hawks measure around 20-26 inches in length, with a wingspan averaging between 43-54 inches.

Red-tailed Hawks are found in a variety of habitats including grasslands, forests, deserts and wetlands. In Texas they can be seen in open fields, on roadsides and at the edges of woodland areas. These hawks are typically seen perched high on a tree or telephone pole, surveying their surroundings for potential prey.

The diet of Red-tailed Hawks in Texas consists mainly of small mammals such as mice, voles and rabbits, but they will also feed on birds, reptiles and amphibians. They may take down medium sized prey from the ground or hunt them from above. Red-tailed Hawks have also been known to scavenge carrion.

In Texas, Red-tailed Hawks breed between March and July. They typically make their nests in tall trees or on cliffsides. Female Red-tailed Hawks will lay two to five eggs per clutch, which are incubated for approximately 30 days before hatching. Chicks fledge after about 45 days, but may remain close to the nest for up to six weeks before they disperse.

Red-tailed Hawks are monogamous and typically mate for life. During the breeding season, they will defend their territory fiercely by chasing away any intruders from their nesting space. They have also been known to launch aerial battles with other hawks or birds of prey that encroach on their territory.

Red-tailed Hawk range map

Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper's Hawk

(Accipiter cooperii) is a medium sized hawk native to North America. It has a long tail, with barred upperparts and rusty red-brown breast, head and underparts. Adult males have blue-gray upperparts while adult females are browner on top. In flight, the white rump stands out against the rest of its dark feathers. The Cooper’s Hawk is usually between 16 and 22 inches in length with a wingspan of 28 to 35 inches and weighing around 11-20 oz.

Cooper’s Hawks are solitary, year round predators that feed on medium sized birds such as doves, jays, robins, starlings, quails and grouse. They also eat small mammals and reptiles such as mice, shrews, frogs, and lizards.

In Texas, Cooper’s Hawks can be found in wooded areas where there are plenty of prey animals. They often hunt from perches or low shrubs before swooping down to catch their prey with their sharp talons. When not hunting, they can be seen sitting atop trees or perched on utility poles.

These hawks are not migratory and will remain in the same area throughout their lives. They typically build large stick nests high up in tall trees where they raise one brood of young per year. The female lays 4-5 eggs which hatch after 28-32 days of incubation. The young remain in the nest for six weeks before taking their first flight.

Cooper's Hawk range map

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-Shouldered Hawk

(Buteo lineatus) is a medium-sized hawk found in the southeastern United States. It has reddish brown upperparts, white and red barred underparts, and yellow legs. The bird’s call is a loud “kee-aah”.

The Red-shouldered Hawk is usually seen in wooded areas near rivers and wetlands, often perching in trees. This hawk species prefers deciduous woods with tall trees and adjacent open areas for hunting. In Texas, they are common residents of East Texas bottomland, pine-oak forests, streamside woods, and especially riparian corridors.

Red-shouldered Hawks prey mainly on small mammals such as mice, voles and rabbits. They also eat many species of snakes, lizards and frogs, as well as some birds. The hawks hunt by waiting on a perch to spot their prey, then swooping down from the air to grab it with their talons.

Red-shouldered Hawks measure 16 to 24 inches in length and have a wingspan of 38 to 43 inches. They weigh between 16 and 24 ounces. The bird’s plumage is relatively dark with reddish brown upperparts, white and reddish barred underparts, chestnut barring on flight feathers, yellow legs, and red eyes.

Red-shouldered Hawk range map

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

(Circus hudsonius) is a medium-sized hawk that can be found in Texas. It has distinctive white rump and long wings which make it easily identifiable. They feed mostly on small rodents such as voles, shrews, and mice, but they also eat frogs, reptiles, birds, and large insects like grasshoppers.

Northern Harriers are usually between 15-20 inches in length and have a wingspan of 32-39 inches. They are typically found in open grasslands, wetlands, marshes, or meadows with plenty of cover for hunting. When not hunting they tend to remain on the ground or perch atop posts, trees, or telephone poles.

They are known to be shy and secretive, often waiting until the last minute to take flight when approached by humans or predators. During breeding season they can be seen engaging in aerial courtship displays where they swoop low over their territories while calling out. Northern Harriers will use a variety of nesting sites from ground scrapes to tree cavities, depending on the region they inhabit.

Northern Harrier range map

Swainson’s Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

(Buteo swainsoni) is a raptor species most commonly seen in central and western Texas. It has brown upperparts, with white spots on the wings and tail feathers, while the belly is a pale buff color. Its eyes are yellow, its bill dark gray, and its feet are pinkish-orange. This hawk has a wingspan of around 1.5 m and typically weighs around 700g.

Swainson’s Hawk mainly feeds on small mammals, insects, and reptiles. They will also eat carrion if available. These hawks usually live in open grasslands but can also be found in wooded areas near bodies of water, as well as in agricultural fields.

Swainson’s Hawk is usually seen in pairs or small groups, soaring on thermals. They will often roost together in trees or open areas during the day before making their way to foraging grounds at nightfall. When nesting, Swainson’s Hawks typically build large stick nests in tall trees or even on poles and other tall structures.

They also perform a special courtship flight, during which the male will soar up very high, then dive down in an impressive display of aerial acrobatics. This hawk is an important species in Texas and provides valuable ecological services to farmers and ranchers alike.

Swainson's Hawk range map

Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk

(Accipiter gentilis) is the most common bird of prey in Texas, and can be found throughout the state. It has a striking gray-and-white plumage with a black tail band and a white underside with stripes. The wingspan ranges from 24 to 38 inches, making it one of the larger birds of prey in the region.

Northern Goshawks are predatory birds that feed mainly on small mammals, such as squirrels and rabbits, but they will also feed on birds, reptiles and amphibians. They typically hunt by ambushing from a perch or from the air and usually live in coniferous forests or mixed woodlands at higher elevations.

Northern Goshawks are very territorial and will aggressively defend their territory by chasing away intruders. During the breeding season, they become even more aggressive and are known to attack people who get too close to their nesting area. They also have a loud call that can be heard from quite far away.

Northern Goshawk range map

Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

(Buteo platypterus) is a medium-sized raptor that can be found in Texas. It has broad wings, short tail and a large head with bright yellow eyes. The upper parts consist of slate gray to bluish black color while the belly is white with dark barring on it. This species of hawk prefers open woodlands and forest edges as its habitat.

Broad-winged Hawks are typically opportunistic feeders and they usually hunt by perching or hovering before diving to catch their prey. They mainly eat large insects, small mammals, some reptiles, and other birds.

When it comes to size, the Broad-winged Hawk can reach lengths of 16 to 24 inches, with wingspans between 28 and 39 inches. They are relatively social birds and are often observed in flocks when migrating. This species of hawk is known for its “kettle” formations which create a spectacular show during their migration season.

During the spring and summer months, Broad-winged Hawks can be seen soaring and gliding in the sky as they look for prey. They also perform courtship rituals during this time, with pairs soaring high above the trees and performing acrobatic stunts. In Texas, these raptors are year-round residents and can often be seen perched on utility lines or nearby fence posts.

Broad-winged Hawk range map

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

(Buteo lagopus) is a medium-sized hawk found in the northern latitudes of the world. It has distinctive long, broad wings and thick legs that have rough plumage at their base. This species has pale brownish upperparts with dark barring on the back and wings. The breast is white to light buffy-brown with dark streaks. Its diet consists mainly of small mammals, but it will also take birds, insects, fish and carrion.

Rough-legged Hawks can be found in Texas during the winter months, typically from late October through March or April. They usually inhabit open grasslands and fields with scattered trees providing perches and nesting sites. They are also commonly found along roadsides and in agricultural areas.

Behaviorally, Rough-legged Hawks usually soar and glide with wings held flat while searching for prey. They may hover briefly over a target before swooping down to capture it. When perched they will pump their tails up and down and turn their heads back and forth scanning the surrounding terrain. They often use the same perch for many days in a row when hunting, making them easy to spot by experienced bird watchers.

Rough-legged Hawk range map

Crane Hawk

Crane Hawk

(Geranospiza caerulescens) is a medium-sized hawk found in Central and South America. Its Latin name translates to “blue heron”. In the United States, it is found only in Texas. Crane hawks are easily identified by their long legs and wings, which have white markings on the tips.

They have a grey-brown back and a white belly.

Their diet consists mainly of small rodents, insects, reptiles, and birds. They also eat fruits, berries and other vegetation. Crane hawks are typically between 15 to 17 inches in length with a wingspan of up to 37 inches. Their habitats include open grasslands, savannahs, scrublands, and woodlands.

Crane hawks are generally solitary birds that spend most of their time perched in trees and shrubs watching for prey below. They use a polyhedral hunting strategy to hunt small mammals, swooping down from above to grab them with their sharp talons. These hawks are also vocal during breeding season, with a series of cackles and screeches.

Crane Hawk range map

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

(Buteo regalis) is a large hawk native to Texas. It has distinct dark brown plumage with a rusty or ferruginous chest and belly, and its tail is usually barred with several dark bands. Its wingspan can reach up to 4 feet and they can weigh anywhere from 2-3 pounds.

These hawks typically inhabit open grasslands, deserts, and brushy habitats. They are known to hunt in wide open spaces and can often be seen soaring at great heights over their preferred habitat.

The Ferruginous Hawk feeds on a variety of small mammals including rabbits, ground squirrels, mice, and voles. It will also occasionally take reptiles and birds. It typically hunts from a perch but will also sometimes search for prey on the ground.

In addition to hunting, Ferruginous Hawks are known to be fearless protectors of their nests. They vigorously defend their breeding sites against other birds of prey, such as owls and eagles, that may threaten their young.

Ferruginous Hawk range map

Roadside Hawk

Roadside Hawk

(Rupornis magnirostris) is a species of hawk found in Texas. It has a distinctive black-and-white facial disk and dark brown upperparts, with reddish-brown underparts. They have long wings and relatively short tails, which are often held at an angle when soaring. They reach sizes between 14–19 inches in length, with a wingspan of 28–36 inches.

Roadside Hawks tend to prefer open forests and savannas, such as those found in Texas. They have also been known to inhabit coastal areas and grasslands. They feed primarily on small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and other birds. They are active during the day, and hunt by soaring high in the air before swooping down to capture their prey. They typically build nests in high tree branches or against cliff faces to raise their young.

Roadside Hawk range map

Gray Hawk

Gray Hawk

(Buteo plagiatus) is a species of hawk found in Texas. It has gray upperparts and tail, dark mottling on the wings, as well as pale underparts with white spots. These birds can be roughly 20 inches in size with a wingspan of up to 35 inches.

Gray Hawks are mainly found in open woodlands and forests, as well as savannahs and grasslands. They often nest in large trees, up to 40 feet off the ground. In Texas they are most commonly found along the Gulf Coast, near rivers and streams.

These birds of prey mainly consume lizards, snakes, frogs, small mammals, and various insects such as grasshoppers and beetles. They will also eat carrion, or dead animals, if they find it. Gray Hawks hunt by perching on a branch high above their prey, then swooping down to catch their food in mid-air.

Gray Hawk range map

Short-tailed Hawk

Short-tailed Hawk

Buteo brachyurus, is a species of bird commonly found in Texas. It has a broad, rounded tail and wingspan that ranges from 18 to 22 inches. The upper plumage of these birds is slate blue in color with light gray underparts, while their bellies are usually white with dark streaking. The head of the Short-tailed Hawk is usually pale with a darker crown, and its eyes are dark brown.

The diet of the Short-tailed Hawk mainly consists of insects, amphibians, and small mammals such as mice and voles. They usually hunt by perching or soaring in search of prey before swooping down to catch it. These hawks can also be seen foraging in small flocks.

Short-tailed Hawks are found in a variety of habitats throughout Texas, including grasslands, prairies, and open woods. They also inhabit agricultural fields and scrubby areas near rivers or lakes.

Short-tailed Hawk range map

White-tailed Hawk

White-tailed Hawk

(Buteo albicaudatus) is a medium-sized bird of prey native to Texas. It has a distinctive white tail, gray wings and upperparts, and a pale cream head with dark streaks. Its beak is black and its legs are yellow. Its diet consists primarily of small mammals such as mice, voles, squirrels, and rabbits, as well as reptiles, amphibians, insects, and other small birds.

The White-tailed Hawk typically has a wingspan of 3 feet and is 16-20 inches in length with a weight of 1 to 2 pounds. It prefers open habitat such as grasslands and savannahs, but can also be found in forests, woodlands, and marshes. It builds its nests in trees or on cliff edges.

White-tailed Hawks are known for their aerial acrobatics with high soaring flight followed by dives and quick turns. They typically hunt from a perch but will also sometimes ambush prey from the air or even take it directly off the ground. They are known to scavenge carrion in addition to hunting and will sometimes steal food from other birds of prey.

White-tailed Hawk range map

Zone-tailed Hawks

Zone-tailed Hawk

(Buteo albonotatus) are medium-sized birds of prey found in the southwestern US. They can be identified by their long, banded tails and broad wings which span up to 3 feet.

In Texas, Zone-tailed Hawks inhabit a variety of habitats including woodlands, open country, chaparral and grasslands. These birds feed mainly on small mammals and insects; however, they will also consume reptiles and amphibians.

Zone-tailed Hawks are quite agile fliers and can change direction quickly when pursuing prey. They often perch in high spots such as trees or poles to observe their environment for potential prey before swooping down to make a capture. Their call is a series of four to five harsh screams which lasts for several seconds.

Zone-tailed Hawk range map

Common Black Hawk

Common Black Hawk

(Buteogallus anthracinus) is a medium-sized hawk found in large parts of Central and South America. It can also be seen throughout much of Texas, where it inhabits open woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands.

This hawk has a mainly black plumage with rusty-brown light barring; its head is black with a white streak behind each eye. The underparts are dark brown or black, and the tail is banded. It ranges in size from 17 to 22 inches (43-56 cm) long, with a wingspan of 40–50 in (100-127 cm).

The Common Black Hawk feeds primarily on small mammals and reptiles, though it also eats insects, frogs, fish, and occasionally carrion. It hunts by soaring over its territory or perching on a lookout post, then swooping down to capture prey with its talons.

Common Black Hawk range map



(Pandion haliaetus) is a large raptor native to Texas and other parts of North America. It has distinctive white underparts, dark brown upperparts, and a largely white head. Its wingspan can range from 39-60 inches across and its body length can reach 37 inches.

Osprey primarily eat live fish and can be seen hunting near rivers, lakes, and coasts. In Texas, they can generally be found in wetlands, estuaries, and coastal regions. They also often build large nests on top of utility poles or other tall structures near bodies of water.

Behaviorally, Ospreys are highly territorial during the nesting season and may dive at intruders to protect their nests. They are also highly social creatures, often gathering in groups when hunting or flying around together during the non-breeding season.

Osprey range map

What kinds of hawks live in Texas?

There are several species of hawks that live in Texas. The largest is the Red-tailed Hawk, which can be found throughout the state. Other common species include Broad-winged Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks, Harris’s Hawks, Northern Harriers, White-tailed Kites and American Kestrels. Additionally, there are a few rare species of hawks that may be seen in Texas, such as the Ferruginous Hawk and the Zone-tailed Hawk.

All of these birds play an important role in maintaining a healthy balance within their natural environment. A variety of habitats throughout Texas provide favorable conditions for these majestic birds to thrive.

Does Texas have hawks or falcons?

Yes, both hawks and falcons can be found in Texas. The most commonly seen species of hawk in the state are Sharp-shinned Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, and Common Black Hawks. Meanwhile, the American Kestrel is one of the more common species of falcon that can be found in Texas.

Other falcons include the Peregrine Falcon and the Prairie Falcon. These birds of prey can be seen in a variety of habitats throughout Texas, from wetlands to grasslands and deserts. In addition, many raptor species migrate through the state each year, bringing even more diversity to the skies over Texas.

What’s the largest hawk in Texas?

The Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) is the largest hawk found in Texas. This large and powerful raptor can grow up to 24 inches (61 cm) in length, with a wingspan of 53–60 inches (135–153 cm). It has gray, brown, white and rust-colored feathers on its body and a white head with dark streaks.

The Ferruginous Hawk is found mainly in the western parts of Texas, but it can also be seen in some areas of the south-central and eastern regions. It feeds primarily on small mammals like rabbits and rodents, as well as insects, small birds, reptiles, amphibians, and carrion.

How do I identify a hawk?

Hawks can be identified by their sharp, hooked bill, long legs and powerful talons. They typically have broad rounded wings and a short tail. Hawks come in many colors, from the bright red of a Red-tailed Hawk to the slate grey of a Cooper’s Hawk. Other identifying features include their large eyes, which help them to locate prey, and the feathers on top of their heads that give them a “crested” look.

Additionally, some hawks have distinctive colored eyes or rings around their eyes. When identifying a hawk, it is important to note its size, behavior and habitat. Hawks can range in size from the small Sharp-shinned Hawk to the much larger Red-shouldered Hawk.

They are usually found soaring in open areas or perched on trees and utility poles, actively scanning their surroundings for prey. Hawks can also be seen hunting in large fields or wetlands, and they typically nest high up in trees. With a good pair of binoculars, you should be able to get an excellent look at the bird and its identifying features.

Cooper’s vs Sharp-shinned: How to identify!

If you’re trying to identify a Cooper’s hawk or a Sharp-shinned hawk, here are the key differences between them.

Size: A Cooper’s hawk is larger than a Sharp-shinned hawk. The Cooper’s Hawk has an average length of 17 to 20 inches and wingspan of 28 to 38 inches, whereas the Sharp-shinned Hawk measures about 9 to 13 inches in length with a wingspan of 16 to 20 inches.

Color: The Cooper’s Hawk has a grayish blue back and head with white spots on its chest. It also has bright red eyes. The Sharp-shinned Hawk is mostly brown on its back with white stripes on its underside. It has yellow eyes with a black line through them.

Tail: The Cooper’s Hawk has a banded tail, whereas the Sharp-shinned Hawk has a square-shaped tail.

Behavior: Cooper’s Hawks are more likely to be seen perched on tree branches and swooping down on prey, while the Sharp-shinned Hawk is more likely to be seen flitting through trees in search of small birds or rodents.

Bird feeders for hawks

Hawks are majestic and powerful birds of prey that can often be seen soaring through the sky. They have a varied diet, feeding on small mammals, reptiles, insects, and also other birds. If you want to attract hawks to your yard or garden, you may consider setting up a bird feeder specifically for them.