What are the types of hawks in Washington State? Washington State is a beautiful place with a variety of ecosystems that are home to a wide variety of species of birds, including hawks.
Hawks are powerful predators found in various habitats in Washington State, including forests, meadows, wetlands, and even urban areas.
In our blog post, we’ll look at the different types of hawks in Washington State and what makes each unique.
We’ll explore their habitats, behaviors, diets, and more.
So, let’s dive in and learn about the fascinating types of hawks in Washington State!
1. Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk is starting our list of types of hawks in Washington State. It is a widely recognized hawk in Washington State and the United States.
It’s found in various habitats, including open country, woodlands, and residential neighborhoods.
They have a distinct red tail with a broad black band across the base, which can be seen when they are soaring high above in the sky.
Red-tailed Hawks feed on small rodents, snakes, rabbits, other small animals, and carrion.
Its long tail and rounded wings have a distinctive shape, allowing it to maneuver through dense forests easily.
They feed primarily on birds, small mammals, reptiles, and some insects. They are often found perching at the tops of trees or power lines in open areas.
2. Cooper’s Hawk
The Cooper’s Hawk is also on our list of types of hawks in Washington State. It is a medium-sized hawk native to Washington State and North America.
The Cooper’s Hawk is usually brown and gray, with a slightly curved bill and dark eyes. It has a broad, rounded tail and long wings, allowing it to maneuver through trees easily.
It feeds mainly on small birds and mammals and can be found in wooded habitats such as forests and woodlands.
The Cooper’s Hawk is an excellent hunter and can spot prey from great distances.
During migration, the Cooper’s Hawk often follows bird migrations, using its strong sense of sight to track birds from the sky.
The nesting behavior of the Cooper’s Hawk includes building a large nest in a tree, usually near the top of a tall tree or in an open area.
The female will then lay 2 to 5 eggs which will hatch after about a month.
The male Cooper’s Hawk will bring food for the young, while the female protects them in the nest until they are ready to leave.
The parents will continue providing food for their young until they are ready to fly independently.
3. Sharp-shinned Hawk
This is the next on our list of types of hawks in Washington State. The Sharp-Shinned Hawk is a small but powerful bird of prey.
It is found in North America and is considered one of the most common hawks in Washington State.
This species of hawk has a unique look, with its rounded head, short bill, long, slim wings and tail, and grayish-brown feathers.
In addition to its distinct coloring, the Sharp-Shinned Hawk has a particularly piercing call.
This hawk is an active hunter and is not afraid to pursue its prey in dense forests.
While the Sharp-Shinned Hawk does feed on smaller animals like mice and birds, it will also take larger prey such as rabbits and squirrels when it can find them.
It usually hunts from a perch and then dives quickly down upon its unsuspecting victims.
These types of hawks in Washington State are known to inhabit coniferous and deciduous forests, as well as open areas like fields, meadows, and deserts.
4. Ferruginous Hawk
The ferruginous hawk is a large species found throughout the western United States, from Washington State to Texas.
They are found in various habitats, from woodlands and deserts to grasslands and agricultural fields.
The ferruginous hawk has a distinctively mottled light-brown plumage, making it easier to identify than other hawks.
In addition to its size and color, the ferruginous hawk also has an unusual habit of hovering while hunting, which makes them a pleasure to watch.
These types of hawks in Washington State feed mainly on small mammals such as mice and voles, but they will also take birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
They are often seen perched on telephone poles or fence posts, looking for prey.
They usually nest in trees or cliffs and are active during the day. The ferruginous hawk is not currently considered endangered.
However, their numbers have declined in recent years due to habitat loss and human disturbances.
Therefore, we must protect this species to continue to thrive in Washington State and beyond.
5. Broad-winged Hawk
This is the next on our list of types of hawks in Washington State. The Broad-winged Hawk is a medium-sized bird of prey found in Washington state.
These birds typically have dark gray or brown upper parts, chestnut-colored bellies, and a band of white on the end of their tails.
This hawk is often seen soaring or perched on trees or power lines. They primarily feed on small rodents, insects, and other birds.
They can be spotted in wooded areas, such as forests or woodlands in Washington.
The Broad-winged Hawk nests in the spring and lays two to four eggs per clutch. Their breeding season begins around April and ends in late summer.
They are generally more active during the day than other species of hawks.
Overall, the Broad-winged Hawk is an important bird of prey in Washington state and should be appreciated for their beauty and importance to the ecosystem.
6. Northern Goshawk
The Northern Goshawk is also one of the types of hawks in Washington State. It is a large bird of prey with a wingspan between 28 and 32 inches.
Its body is slate gray with a barred tail and legs that are usually reddish.
The male is slightly smaller than the female. They inhabit mature coniferous forests and mixed woodland habitats, which are the primary locations to find them in Washington State.
The Northern Goshawk has an omnivorous diet consisting of small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
They typically remain in the same area year-round during the breeding season but will migrate south during winter.
They build large nests in trees and can be seen soaring high above the forest canopy, searching for food.
Northern Goshawks are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and are considered a species of the least concern.
7. Zone-tailed Hawk
The Zone-tailed Hawk is a large and powerful bird of prey native to North America.
It can be found in the western states, such as California, Utah, and Washington, but they are most commonly seen in Arizona.
This type of hawk in Washington State is one of North America’s largest and most impressive hawks, with adults reaching a body length of 25 inches and a wingspan of 52-60 inches.
Their plumage is distinct, featuring a mottled pattern of black and white feathers and dark barring on their tail feathers.
These hawks prefer open woodlands, desert scrub, and riparian areas for their habitat. They mainly feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
Although these hawks in Washington State are not considered threatened or endangered, they face challenges due to habitat loss and human activities.
Conservation efforts have been put in place to help ensure their survival in the future.
8. Red-shouldered Hawk
This is the next on our list of types of hawks in Washington State.. The red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) is next on our list of types of hawks in Washington State.
It is a medium-sized hawk that can be found in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.
This species of hawk is commonly found in woodlands, along streams and rivers, and in the surrounding areas of these areas.
They are most easily identified by their red shoulders, which they get from the reddish-brown markings on their upper wings.
Red-shouldered hawks are usually seen perched atop tall trees or flying slowly above wooded areas, searching for prey.
They have a broad diet that includes small mammals, frogs, reptiles, and invertebrates.
Red-shouldered hawks are monogamous and often form strong pair bonds. These hawks are also quite vocal and can be heard making various noises, including cackling and whistling.
They breed from late April through mid-May and typically use old nests from other birds or build a new ones.
The female will lay two to three eggs, which hatch after about five weeks of incubation.
Red-shouldered hawks are relatively common in Washington State and can often be seen in areas with dense vegetation and large trees.
9. Swainson’s Hawk
The Swainson’s Hawk is one of the most common hawks in Washington State.
This type of hawk is typically a medium-sized bird with a wingspan of about 44 inches and a length of 16 to 20 inches.
It is usually dark brown or grayish-brown above and whitish below, with a light-colored head and a darker, slightly rusty tail.
The head of a Swainson’s Hawk is usually reddish-brown, and its eyes are yellow.
This species of hawk prefers to inhabit open, semi-arid grasslands, savannahs, and desert regions and will migrate long distances between breeding and wintering grounds.
Swainson’s Hawks are quite common in Washington during the summer months when they come to breed and forage for food.
During this time, they often hunt for small mammals, reptiles, insects, and other small birds.
In the winter months, the Swainson’s Hawk will migrate further south in search of food sources.
10. Rough-legged Hawk
The Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) is one of the largest and most common types of hawks in Washington State.
This hawk is mostly dark brown, with light mottling along its back and wings and a white belly.
It has a black tail with a white band near the end, giving it its distinctive look.
The Rough-legged Hawk usually builds its nest on cliffs and can often be seen soaring high in the sky, looking for prey.
Its diet consists mainly of voles and small mammals, though it has also been known to eat fish and birds.
In the winter months, the Rough-legged Hawk can be found in more open areas such as fields, meadows, and marshes, where it can find an abundance of prey.
This hawk migrates south during the winter, usually returning by late February or early March to breed in Washington State.
As part of its courtship ritual, the Rough-legged Hawk will engage in a spectacular display involving dives and intricate aerial maneuvers.
Though not as widespread as other hawks in Washington state, the Rough-legged Hawk is still an impressive sight when spotted in its preferred habitat.
11. Northern Harrier
The Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius) is a bird of prey found in many areas throughout the United States, particularly in Washington State.
It belongs to the family of raptors known as “hawks” and is easily identifiable by its gray-brown upperparts and white underparts.
As a medium-sized raptor, the Northern Harrier has a wingspan of approximately 3 feet and can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour while hunting.
Its diet consists mainly of small mammals, such as mice, voles, and squirrels, which it catches using its long talons and strong beak.
The Northern Harrier is known for its characteristic gliding flight pattern.
This species prefers open areas such as meadows, fields, and wetlands but also inhabits marshes, grasslands, and other open habitats.
It often hunts near the ground, using its sharp vision and acute hearing to detect potential prey.
The Northern Harrier nests in low shrubs or on the ground, laying an average of 4 to 5 eggs per clutch. Breeding season typically occurs from April to July.
Overall, the Northern Harrier is an iconic species in Washington State and an important member of the hawk family.
12. Zone-tailed Hawk
This is the last on our list of types of hawks in Washington State. The Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus) is a medium-sized bird of prey native to the western United States, Mexico, and Central America.
It is a member of the genus Buteo, which includes other species, such as Red-tailed Hawks and Cooper’s Hawks.
The Zone-tailed Hawk is distinguishable by its broad wings and unique tail feathers, with a white tip and black bars forming a “zone” pattern.
In Washington State, the Zone-tailed Hawk is a rare visitor, with sightings most commonly occurring during migration periods in spring and fall.
Its diet consists of small birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
Like other Buteos, the Zone-tailed Hawk is an opportunistic hunter that utilizes soaring flight to locate prey from a great height.
During the breeding season, this species typically nests in tree cavities or on cliffs and prefers open habitats such as grasslands, deserts, and mountain foothills.
Despite its elusive nature, this hawk remains a fascinating species and an important part of Washington State’s avian population.
Hawks are beautiful and fascinating creatures found in many parts of Washington State.
With species of hawks known to inhabit this region, they are a wonderful reminder of the wonders of nature.
From the mighty Golden Eagle to the diminutive Sharp-Shinned Hawk, these birds of prey help keep our ecosystems in balance.
Each type of hawk in Washington State has unique characteristics, behavior, and habitat preferences, making them an important part of the natural environment.
So if you’re looking for an up-close encounter with these majestic types of hawks in Washington State, keep your eyes peeled, and you might get lucky!
Whether you’re a bird enthusiast or simply looking to learn more about the native wildlife in the area, you’ll be amazed at the different types of hawks that inhabit Washington State.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different species of hawks in the region and their characteristics, behaviors, and habitats.