10 Types Of Hawks In Nevada

Are you interested in the diverse and dynamic wildlife of Nevada? If so, you’ll be fascinated by the 10 types of hawks that call the Silver State home.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at 10 of the most common types of hawks in Nevada, including their physical features, habitat preferences, and hunting techniques.

Whether you’re a seasoned birdwatcher or just curious about the natural world around you, this guide to hawks in Nevada is sure to be an enlightening and educational read.

Key Takeaways

  • There are 10 types of hawks found in Nevada, each with unique physical features, habitat preferences, and hunting techniques.
  • Hawks are important predators in the ecosystem, controlling populations of rodents and other small animals.
  • Some notable hawks found in Nevada include the Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, and Golden Eagle.
  • Hawks are a fascinating subject of study for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.

1. Red-tailed Hawk

You’ll love spotting the Red-tailed Hawk in the Nevada skies! These majestic birds are easily recognizable by their characteristic red tail feathers. They are one of the most common hawks in North America and can be found in a variety of habitats, including deserts, grasslands, and forests.

Red-tailed Hawks are opportunistic predators, meaning they’ll eat almost anything they can catch, from small mammals and reptiles to birds and insects.

They’re skilled hunters and can often be seen soaring high in the sky, searching for prey with their keen eyesight.

Red-tailed Hawks are also known for their unique breeding behavior. They typically mate for life and build their nests in the tops of trees or on cliffs. They’re known to be protective of their nests and will fiercely defend their young from any potential threats.

During breeding season, they perform aerial displays, soaring high in the sky and calling out to attract a mate. Once the female lays her eggs, both parents take turns incubating them and caring for the chicks.

Overall, the Red-tailed Hawk is a fascinating and important part of the Nevada ecosystem.

2. Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk is a fierce predator with sharp talons and a keen eye for prey. This medium-sized hawk is found in a variety of habitats throughout Nevada, including forests, woodlands, and suburban areas.

Its diet consists mainly of small mammals such as mice, squirrels, and rabbits, but it also preys on birds and insects.

Cooper’s Hawks are known for their speed and agility in flight, which allows them to catch their prey mid-air. Breeding behavior and migration patterns of Cooper’s Hawk vary depending on their location.

In Nevada, they typically breed from March to July and build their nests in trees.

During migration, they move south to warmer areas and can be seen in Nevada during the winter months. Despite being common in many areas, Cooper’s Hawks face threats from habitat loss and pesticide use.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect these magnificent birds and ensure their survival for future generations.

3. Sharp-shinned Hawk

If you ever spot a Sharp-shinned Hawk in your backyard, prepare to be amazed by its lightning-fast movements and razor-sharp talons. This bird of prey is a master hunter, preying on small birds, mammals, and insects.

In fact, the Sharp-shinned Hawk is so skilled at hunting that it’s sometimes referred to as a ‘bird-eating hawk.’

When it comes to habitat preferences, the Sharp-shinned Hawk tends to favor forested areas, where it can use the cover of trees to surprise its prey.

However, this hawk is also known to inhabit suburban and urban areas, where it can find plenty of prey in the form of backyard birds and rodents.

As for hunting behaviors, the Sharp-shinned Hawk is known for its agility and speed. It’s capable of making quick, sudden movements in mid-air, allowing it to catch its prey off-guard. Once it has caught its prey, the hawk uses its sharp talons to grasp and kill it.

Overall, the Sharp-shinned Hawk is a fascinating and impressive bird, with unique characteristics and behaviors that make it a true marvel to observe in the wild.

4. Swainson’s Hawk

The majestic Swainson’s Hawk, with its striking plumage and impressive size, is sure to leave you in awe as it soars through the skies.

This large raptor is a common sight in Nevada during the breeding season, where it nests in open grasslands and agricultural areas.

Swainson’s Hawks are known for their distinctive appearance, with a dark brown back, light chest, and white throat. They also have a distinctive black and white band on their tail.

Breeding habits of Swainson’s Hawks vary depending on their location, but they typically mate for life and build their nests in tall trees or on power poles. They lay between 2-4 eggs and both parents take turns incubating them for approximately 30 days.

After hatching, the chicks remain in the nest for about six weeks before fledging.

Swainson’s Hawks are also known for their impressive migration patterns, with some traveling up to 14,000 miles each year.

They travel from their breeding grounds in North America to their wintering grounds in South America, crossing the Andes Mountains and flying over the Amazon rainforest.

Overall, the Swainson’s Hawk is an impressive bird and an important part of Nevada’s ecosystem.

5. Ferruginous Hawk

Get ready to be mesmerized by the Ferruginous Hawk, a stunning raptor with beautiful rust-colored feathers and a wingspan of up to 4 feet. This bird of prey is one of the largest hawks in North America and can be found in Nevada’s deserts and grasslands.

The Ferruginous Hawk is a powerful hunter, preying on a variety of small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

They also feed on birds and reptiles. It’s fascinating to watch the Ferruginous Hawk hunt, as they use their keen eyesight to spot prey from great distances and then swoop down with incredible speed and agility.

When it comes to nesting habits, the Ferruginous Hawk is quite adaptable. They build their nests on cliffs, trees, or even on the ground, depending on the location.

Their nests are usually made of sticks and lined with grasses or other soft materials.

In terms of diet, the Ferruginous Hawk is a versatile predator, with a preference for small mammals such as rabbits, ground squirrels, and prairie dogs.

Overall, the Ferruginous Hawk is an impressive bird of prey that is well-suited to its environment.

6. Northern Harrier

With its distinctive white rump patch and low, graceful flight, the Northern Harrier is a bird of prey that can be found across much of North America. These hawks are often seen gliding low over open fields, marshes, and grasslands, searching for prey.

They have a unique hunting behavior, known as ‘sky-dancing,’ where they fly in slow, undulating circles in search of small mammals, birds, and insects.

Northern Harriers prefer to nest in open grasslands, wetlands, and fields with tall vegetation. They build their nests on the ground, often hidden in tall grasses or reeds.

During the breeding season, males will perform aerial displays, flying up and then diving down in a series of loops and twists. These displays are meant to attract females and establish territories.

The Northern Harrier is an important predator in many ecosystems, and its presence is a sign of a healthy food chain.

7. Rough-legged Hawk

You’ll be amazed by the Rough-legged Hawk’s majestic flight and powerful presence in the Arctic tundra. These hawks are known for their striking appearance, with their dark brown feathers contrasting beautifully against their white belly and legs.

Their wingspan can reach up to 56 inches, making them one of the largest hawks in North America.

Behavior patterns of the Rough-legged Hawk vary depending on their habitat preferences. They are known for their patient hunting style, often hovering over their prey before diving down to capture it.

They prefer to hunt small mammals such as lemmings, voles, and mice.

During breeding season, their behavior changes as they become more territorial and aggressive towards other birds of prey. In their preferred Arctic tundra habitat, these hawks are well adapted to the harsh conditions and can be seen soaring over the vast landscape in search of their next meal.

8. Golden Eagle

The Golden Eagle is a formidable predator in the skies, with fierce hunting skills and an impressive wingspan. This species is found throughout Nevada, preferring open habitats like grasslands, deserts, and high altitude mountains.

They have a wingspan of up to 7 feet and can reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour when diving to catch prey.

Golden Eagles are opportunistic hunters, preying on a variety of animals including rabbits, squirrels, snakes, and even deer. They hunt by soaring high in the sky and using their keen eyesight to spot prey from a distance.

Once they find a potential meal, the eagle will dive down at incredible speeds, using their powerful talons to capture their prey. These birds are also known for their ability to steal food from other predators, such as coyotes or other eagles.

Due to their hunting behaviors and habitat preferences, the Golden Eagle plays an important role in maintaining the balance of Nevada’s ecosystems.

9. Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle, a majestic bird with a distinctive white head, can be spotted soaring through the skies of North America. This bird of prey is known for its impressive wingspan that can reach up to 7 feet, making it one of the largest birds in North America.

Bald Eagles are typically found near bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and coastlines, where they hunt for fish and other aquatic prey.

They are opportunistic hunters and will also eat small mammals and other birds. Bald Eagles have incredible eyesight and can spot prey from over a mile away. They are known for their distinctive call, which is a high-pitched chirping sound.

Bald Eagles mate for life and build their nests in tall trees near bodies of water. They are a symbol of freedom and strength in the United States, and are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Conservation efforts have helped to increase the population of Bald Eagles in recent years.

Once listed as an endangered species, the Bald Eagle population has rebounded thanks to habitat preservation, stricter hunting regulations, and other conservation efforts. As of 2021, the population of Bald Eagles in Nevada is estimated to be around 200-300 individuals.

While this is a significant increase from previous years, continued conservation efforts are needed to ensure that this iconic bird of prey continues to thrive in its natural habitat.


Prairie Falcon

Flying through the open skies of North America, the Prairie Falcon is a fierce predator that can take down prey twice its size. This bird of prey has a wingspan of up to three feet and a body length of 16 to 20 inches.

The species is well-adapted to hunting in open grasslands and deserts, with its aerodynamic body and sharp talons that allow it to snatch prey from the ground or in mid-air. The Prairie Falcon is a skilled hunter that preys on a variety of small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Its hunting behavior is characterized by fast, agile flight, with the bird often using its wings to cover great distances in search of prey.

The species is known to prefer open habitats, such as grasslands, prairies, and deserts, but can also be found in mountainous regions.

Overall, the Prairie Falcon is a fascinating bird that is well-suited to its environment, with its hunting prowess and habitat preferences making it a formidable predator in the skies.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

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