Accipiter Striatus – Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Accipiter Striatus - Sharp-Shinned Hawk

The sharp-shinned hawk, Accipiter striatus, is a small but large-headed hawk that breeds from southeastern Canada and Maine south to northern Florida and west to eastern California; it is partially migratory, with northern birds moving south as far as Central America. It is the only member of its genus Accipiter found in North America in the family of Accipitridae.

Quick Overview: Accipiter Striatus – Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Body size: Around 10-14 in (25-36 cm) and a weight of 102 g (3.6 oz)
Main colors: Gray, Black, Yellow, White
Range: Throughout United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Sharp-shinned hawk Description

Sharp-shinned hawks have bluish-gray upperparts with a darker head. Their small, rounded wings are black above and bright below. Females have fewer breast bars and a darker top portion. Sharp-shinned hawks have a yellow body and yellow legs and feet. When not spread, their tail is square-tipped with three to five black stripes and a white tip. It does not alter the adult’s look. Adults have greater streaking or barring and lighter coloring. Sharp-shinned hawks are smaller than Cooper’s hawks.

Accipiter Striatus - Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Accipiter Striatus – Sharp-Shinned Hawk. Photo by: Dennis Murphy


These hawks have a length of 10-14 in (25-36 cm) and a weight of 102 g (3.6 oz). Their wings could range from 20-28 in (51-71 cm).


Small birds, small animals, and large insects make up 90% of a sharp-shinned hawk’s diet. They frequently catch birds at feeders and nestlings.


Snipes lives in the woods. Pine, fir, and aspen woods (among others). They hunt in the core and borders of forests from sea level to near alpine. Sharp-shinned hawks frequent rural, suburban, and agricultural settings, feeding at bird feeders.


Seasonally territorial Sharp-shinned hawks. Calling, pursuing, and assaulting discourage invaders They are generally solitary, sometimes migrate in small groups. Most North American populations migrate; some fly over 1500 kilometers. They migrate in August and return in March.

XXX Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Genus: Accipiter
  • Species: Accipiter striatus

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the winter season (December to February).

Distribution of the Sharp-shinned hawk in the USA

North America, particularly Mexico, has sharp-shinned hawks. They range from Venezuela to northern Argentina. During the winter, most North American people travel south. North America, particularly Mexico, has sharp-shinned hawks. They breed, migrate, and live all throughout the United States.

The Sharp-shinned hawk can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Accipiter Striatus – Sharp-Shinned Hawk

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