Hawks In Alaska (6 Species With Pictures)

There are up to 25 different species of hawks in North America, depending on who you ask. Because of the various climates and food sources for the different species, each U.S. state has its own climate. Hawks may exist in a variety of forms in each state, depending on the season. This time, we’ll talk about some hawks in Alaska, specifically those found in the state. We’ll discuss where you may see them, explore some images, and discover some interesting information about each species.


In Alaska, you may come across six different species. The Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, and Northern Harrier are among the species found there.

Should you encounter one of them, below is a guide to hawks in Alaska, along with some images that may help you identify them.


Length: 17.7-25.6 in  

Weight: 24.3-51.5 oz 

Wingspan: 44.9-52.4 in  

With over 2 million nesting hawks, Red-tailed Hawks are the most common hawk in North America. This figure accounts for about 90% of all Red-tailed Hawks. During the breeding season, these huge hawks may be seen across most of Alaska. Therefore, before they migrate south for the winter in the autumn, look for them in the spring and summer.

Red-tailed Hawks are frequently observed soaring above the ground, using their exceptional vision, or perched on highway poles in the early morning or during the day. They prefer to feed on bigger creatures, such as songbirds, and are seldom seen lurking around feeders in backyards. Here are some interesting facts about the Red-tailed Hawk.

Here’s a footage of a squirrel being held captive by a sign pole by a Red-tailed Hawk. Mr. Very Brainy, if you will Hawk, for example.


Length: 9.4-13.4 in

Weight: 3.1-7.7 oz

Wingspan: 16.9-22.1 in

In Alaska and North America, the Sharp-shinned Hawk is the tiniest hawk. They have a breeding range that stretches across much of Central Alaska and can be found across North America. From the United States, sharpies migrate north. Each year, they breed in Canada and Alaska, as well as spending the winter in Central America.

These are migratory birds, as you can see, but each year they pass through your area at two specific times, so you have a good chance to see them. The predatory habits of these little hawks are well-known. Consider taking down your feeders for a week or two and letting the hawk go if you see one. Here’s where you can learn more about the Sharp-shinned hawk.


Length: 20.9-25.2 in

Weight: 22.3-48.1 oz

Wingspan: 40.5-46.1 in

Northern Goshawks, which are comparable in size to Red-tailed Hawks, are big birds of prey. Throughout most of Alaska, but not as often in the north, the Northern Goshawk can be found year-round. While they reside in vast woodlands and may be difficult to detect, your greatest bet is to move and listen in mature woodlands with big trees. They’re also well-known for fighting anyone who comes near their nests and young.

Adults have a light stripe over their eyes and a dark slate gray top with barred light gray underparts. The northern goshawks dwell in the high timberlands and breed there. They feed on a variety of birds, mammals, carrion, and insects and are mostly opportunistic eaters.


Length: 18.5-20.5 in

Weight: 25.2-49.4 oz 

Wingspan: 52.0-54.3 in

Rough-legged Hawks and Ferruginous Hawks are the only American hawks to have feathered legs all the way down to their toes. The Rough-legged Hawk comes in two distinct variations; light morph and dark morph. The plumage of males and females look quite different in both morphs. As you might expect, light morphs are overall lighter colored with a somewhat mottled pattern, and dark morphs are a dark chocolate brown color with two-toned light/dark under their wings and tails.

Migratory birds include Rough-legged Hawks. They are active during the warmer months and have a breeding range in Alaska. The best time to see a Rough-legged Hawk in Alaska is during the spring and summer, as well as migration periods. Some breed throughout the summer in Northern Canada’s arctic regions.


Scientific nameCircus hudsonius

Length: 18.1-19.7 in

Weight: 10.6-26.5 oz

Wingspan: 40.2-46.5 in

With their owlish looks, a white patch on the tail, and their trademark gliding technique with wings in the form of a V, the Northern Harrier is simple to spot. These birds are described as majestic by Majestic.

During the breeding season, the Harrier can be found across much of Alaska. On marshes, fields, and other large open spaces, you’re likely to see them.

Little mammals are eaten by the Northern Harrier. Harriers, unlike other hawk species, rely heavily on their hearing to capture prey.


Scientific nameButeo swainsoni

Length: 18.9-22.1 in

Weight: 24.4-48.2 oz (

Wingspan: 45-55 in

Each year, Swainson’s Hawks go north to breed in specific parts of Eastern Alaska. Swainson’s Hawks are also migratory and can be found only in the lower 48 states. South America is where Swainson’s Hawks spend the winter. During the summer, they’re most likely to be seen in large swaths of open countryside. On telephone poles, wires, and remote trees, they’ll perch.

Kettles, which are as big as tens of thousands of pounds, are used to migrate hawks. You should see these raptors during their migration if you thought Broad-winged hawks were something to see.

As their habitat has evolved throughout time, Swainson’s Hawks have adapted well to agricultural settings. They may be seen foraging in fields and crops for prey.

Leave a Comment