10 Types Of Hawks In Oklahoma

Are you a hawk enthusiast looking to explore the diverse species of hawks in Oklahoma? Look no further! Oklahoma is home to ten different types of hawks, each with unique characteristics and behaviors.

From the majestic Bald Eagle to the agile Sharp-shinned Hawk, Oklahoma’s hawk population offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of avian predators.

Whether you are a seasoned birdwatcher or a curious amateur, exploring the diverse hawks of Oklahoma is sure to be a thrilling and educational experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Oklahoma is home to ten different types of hawks, each with unique characteristics and behaviors.
  • The most common hawk in Oklahoma is the Red-tailed Hawk, easily identified by its reddish-brown tail and piercing gaze.
  • Hawks in Oklahoma have diverse habitat preferences, including open areas like grasslands and meadows, as well as forested areas with tall trees and open spaces.
  • Hawks are skilled hunters, using their sharp talons and powerful beaks to catch prey like rodents, reptiles, and other birds, and are adaptable to various habitats.

1. Red-tailed Hawk

You’re gonna love learning about the Red-tailed Hawk – they’re one of the most common and fascinating hawks you’ll find in Oklahoma!

These majestic birds of prey are known for their striking red tail feathers and impressive wingspan of up to four feet.

Red-tailed Hawks are found throughout Oklahoma, and they have a wide range of habitats that they prefer. From grasslands to forests to deserts, these adaptable hawks can make a home just about anywhere.

They are also skilled hunters, using their sharp talons and powerful beaks to catch a variety of prey, including rodents, reptiles, and even other birds.

With their keen eyesight and aerial agility, Red-tailed Hawks are truly a marvel to watch in action.

2. Cooper’s Hawk

The Cooper’s Hawk is a fierce hunter, with sharp talons and a keen eye for spotting prey. This species of hawk is known for its agile and stealthy behavior patterns, often swooping down on unsuspecting prey from above.

The Cooper’s Hawk prefers to live in wooded areas with dense cover, often near water sources such as rivers or ponds. They also tend to inhabit urban areas with tall buildings and trees, making them a common sight in cities and suburbs.

When hunting, the Cooper’s Hawk will often perch on a high vantage point, scanning the landscape for potential prey.

They primarily feed on small to medium-sized birds, but will also consume small mammals, reptiles, and insects.

This species is also known for its impressive flying abilities, able to navigate through dense forests and urban environments with ease.

Overall, the Cooper’s Hawk is a fascinating species of hawk that is well-adapted to a variety of habitats and is a skilled hunter.

3. Northern Harrier

If you’re lucky enough to spot one, you’ll be impressed by the Northern Harrier’s distinctive hunting style. They glide low over fields and marshes in search of prey, using their keen senses to detect small mammals, birds, and insects.

These birds of prey are often seen flying low to the ground, their wings held in a distinctive V-shape as they scan the landscape for potential meals.

Northern Harriers have specific habitat preferences, favoring open areas such as grasslands, marshes, and meadows.

They are also found in agricultural fields and along the coastlines. Their hunting techniques are unique, as they use their long wings and aerodynamic build to fly low and slow over their intended prey.

Once they spot a target, they will swoop down and capture it with their sharp talons.

Overall, the Northern Harrier is a fascinating predator that adds to the diversity of hawks found in Oklahoma.

4. Sharp-shinned Hawk

Watch out, the Sharp-shinned Hawk is a fierce and agile predator that can take down prey much larger than itself. This small hawk is a skilled hunter, often targeting songbirds and small mammals like mice and squirrels.

With its sharp talons and hooked beak, the Sharp-shinned Hawk is a force to be reckoned with in the skies of Oklahoma.

To get a better understanding of the habitat of the Sharp-shinned Hawk, here are some key points to consider:

  1. They prefer forested areas with a mixture of tall trees and open spaces, making them common sights in Oklahoma’s wooded areas.
  2. They nest in trees, building their nests with twigs and lined with softer materials like feathers and moss.
  3. During migration, they are known to fly over open water, making them a common sight along Oklahoma’s lakes and rivers.
  4. Their behavior is often solitary, but they may gather in groups during migration or around abundant food sources.

Overall, the Sharp-shinned Hawk is a fascinating and powerful predator that can thrive in a variety of habitats. Keep an eye out for this impressive bird of prey when exploring the Oklahoma wilderness.

5. Swainson’s Hawk

Featuring a mottled brown and white plumage, Swainson’s Hawk is a migratory bird of prey that can be found in Oklahoma. This species of hawk is known for its broad wings and long tail, which allow it to soar effortlessly over wide-open spaces while searching for prey.

Swainson’s Hawks prefer to hunt small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and can often be seen perched on telephone poles or other high structures while scanning the surrounding area for potential meals.

Habitat preferences play a significant role in the migration patterns of Swainson’s Hawks. During the breeding season, these birds can be found nesting in grasslands and prairies throughout the western United States and Canada.

However, as winter approaches, Swainson’s Hawks begin their migration south and can be found in a variety of habitats, including deserts, wetlands, and agricultural fields.

In Oklahoma, these hawks can often be seen soaring over open fields and grasslands during their spring and fall migrations.

6. Ferruginous Hawk

You’ve just learned about the Swainson’s Hawk, and now it’s time to delve into another fascinating species of hawk found in Oklahoma – the Ferruginous Hawk.

This bird of prey is known for its impressive size and striking appearance. It has a wingspan that can reach up to 4 feet and a rusty-red coloration on its back and wings.

One of the unique features of the Ferruginous Hawk is its preference for open grasslands and prairies as its habitat. This bird can be found in the western parts of Oklahoma, where it preys on small mammals like rabbits and ground squirrels.

During the winter months, the Ferruginous Hawk will migrate to southern parts of the United States and Mexico, where it can find a more hospitable climate.

If you’re lucky enough to spot a Ferruginous Hawk in Oklahoma, you’ll likely be struck by its impressive size and stunning coloration.

7. Broad-winged Hawk

Get ready to be amazed by the beauty of the Broad-winged Hawk, with its distinctive dark and light bands on its tail feathers. This hawk is known for its migratory behavior, often traveling in large flocks during the fall months.

Here are five interesting facts about the Broad-winged Hawk:

  • The Broad-winged Hawk is a small but mighty bird, measuring only 13-17 inches in length and weighing just 9-20 ounces.
  • These birds are found in a variety of habitats, from deciduous and mixed forests to swamps and open fields.
  • During migration, Broad-winged Hawks can travel up to 4,500 miles from their breeding grounds in North America to their wintering grounds in Central and South America.
  • Broad-winged Hawks are known for their distinctive ‘kettle’ behavior, where they circle high in the sky in groups of hundreds or even thousands.
  • These hawks primarily feed on small mammals, such as mice and voles, as well as insects and occasionally reptiles and amphibians.

The Broad-winged Hawk is a fascinating bird to observe, both for its stunning appearance and unique migratory behavior. By learning more about these hawks and their habitat, we can better understand and appreciate the intricate workings of our natural world.

8. Rough-legged Hawk

Are you ready to witness the majestic beauty of the Rough-legged Hawk, with its striking feather patterns and impressive wingspan?

This bird of prey is commonly found in open habitats such as tundra and grasslands, and is known for its unique hunting behavior. Unlike other hawks, the Rough-legged Hawk will hover in the air, scanning the ground for prey before swooping down to capture it.

In addition to its impressive hunting skills, the Rough-legged Hawk is also known for its habitat preferences. During the breeding season, these birds can be found in the Arctic tundra, where they build their nests on cliffs or in trees.

In the winter, they will migrate to more southerly regions, where they can be seen hunting in open fields and along the edges of forests. So if you’re looking to spot a Rough-legged Hawk, keep an eye out for these impressive birds in wide open spaces!

9. Mississippi Kite

If you’re searching for a bird of prey that’s unique to the southern United States, check out the Mississippi Kite with its graceful flight and distinctive coloration.

These birds are small to medium in size, with a wingspan of 24 to 36 inches. They have a dark gray head and back, contrasting with a white underside, and their wings are pointed and narrow.

Here are some interesting facts about the Mississippi Kite:

  1. Breeding habits: Mississippi Kites breed in the southern United States, including Oklahoma. They prefer open woodlands, farmlands, and urban areas for nesting. The female lays 1 to 3 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for about a month. The young chicks are fed by both parents for several weeks before they fledge.
  2. Migration patterns: Mississippi Kites are migratory birds, spending the winter months in South America and migrating back to their breeding grounds in the southern United States in the spring. They follow the warm weather northward and can be seen in Oklahoma from late April to early September.
  3. Predators: Despite being a bird of prey themselves, Mississippi Kites have predators of their own. They’re vulnerable to predation by larger birds of prey, such as Red-tailed Hawks and Great Horned Owls. They’re also at risk from habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as pesticide use.

The Mississippi Kite is a fascinating bird of prey with unique breeding habits and migration patterns. Although they may face threats from predators and human activity, they continue to thrive in Oklahoma and other southern states.

Keep an eye out for these graceful flyers during their summer stay in the state.

10. Bald Eagle

You’ll be amazed by the majestic beauty of the Bald Eagle as it soars through the clear blue sky with its impressive wingspan. The Bald Eagle is a symbol of strength and freedom, and it’s no wonder why it is one of the most sought-after birds to watch in Oklahoma.

However, the Bald Eagle’s population faced a significant decline in the past due to habitat loss and hunting.

Thanks to the Bald Eagle conservation efforts, the population has been on a steady increase since the 1980s, and the bird is no longer listed as an endangered species.

Bald Eagles are found throughout Oklahoma, primarily near large bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. These birds prefer to nest in tall trees near the water, where they can find an abundant supply of fish, their main food source.

Bald Eagles are known for their hunting skills and can dive at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, making them a formidable predator.

However, despite their impressive behavior, the Bald Eagle’s population is still threatened by habitat loss, pollution, and illegal hunting.

It’s essential to continue the conservation efforts to ensure the survival of this amazing bird in Oklahoma.

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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