Gray Hawk

Marvin Collins

Fulton, United States

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Tom Ryan and I went down to Patagonia, Az this morning 4-25-09 in search of these hawks. It seems that their habitat is rather limited unlike the Red-Tailed, Ferruginous and many of the other hawks in our area.

The Gray Hawk / Grey Hawk Buteo nitidus is a smallish raptor found in open country and forest edges. It is sometimes placed in the genus Asturina as Asturina nitid. It breeds from the southwestern USA and Mexico south to Bolivia, Brazil and central Argentina. It is fairly common on Trinidad, and there have been recent sightings on Tobago.

The nest is of sticks and built high in a tree. The usual clutch is one to three, usually two white eggs, pale blue with red markings. The young take about 6 weeks to fledging.

The Gray Hawk is 46-61 cm in length and weighs 475 g. The adult has a pale grey body, the tail is black with three white bands and the legs are orange.

Immature birds have dark brown upperparts, a pale-banded brown tail, brown-spotted white underparts and a brown streaked buff head and neck. This species is quite short-winged, and has a fast agile flight for a Buteo.

The population from southeastern Pacific Costa Rica to Brazil and Argentina has fine white barring on the upperparts and is sometimes split as the separate species Gray-lined Hawk, Buteo nitidus, with northern birds becoming Buteo plagiatus, but the vocalisations are identical.

The Gray Hawk feeds mainly on lizards and snakes, but will also take small mammals, birds and frogs. It usually sits on an open high perch from which it swoops on its prey, but will also hunt from a low glide. The call is a shrill whistled kleee-ooo.

Copyright: Wikipedia. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from

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