12 Species Of Hawks In Arizona (With Pictures)

In the United States, there are up to 25 distinct species of hawks, depending on who you ask. Each state may have its own collection of hawks that live there at various times of the year due to the varying climates and food sources for the numerous species. We’ll talk about hawks in Arizona in this article. In the state, how many species may be discovered, as well as a little information about each.

I’ve been attempting to cover as many states as feasible lately since Raptors of all sorts are fascinating to me and I enjoy writing about them. Seeking information on hawks species that live in your state can be a time-consuming task.


Except for the rare vagrant, there are 12 distinct species of hawks in Arizona. According to allaboutbirds.org or neotropical.birds.cornell.edu, all 12 species have a range in Arizona’s state. The Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Common Black Hawk, Harris’ hawk, Gray hawk are the 12 species listed above.

Want to learn a little more about where they may be seen in Arizona and what they look like?


Length: 17.7-25.6 in  

Weight: 24.3-51.5 oz 

Wingspan: 44.9-52.4 in 

In all of North America, the Red-tailed Hawk is the most common large hawk. They may frequently be seen soaring overhead or perched high up on telephone wires and trees throughout the year in Arizona’s wide-ranging environment. They aren’t as common in backyards as a Sharp-shinned or Copper’s Hawk since they feed mostly on small to medium-sized mammals.


Length: 9.4-13.4 in

Weight: 3.1-7.7 oz

Wingspan: 16.9-22.1 in

The majority of Arizona’s non-breeding Sharp-shinned Hawk population is located in the state. This species has a year-round population in parts of central Arizona near Flagstaff, the Tonto National Forest, and the Coconino National Forest. As songbirds account for around 90% of their diet, Sharp-shinned Hawks, also known as Sharpies, are well-known for following backyards and bird feeders. If you have one in your yard, remove your feeders for a few days and let the hawk go before restoring them.


Length: 14.6-17.7 in

Weight: 7.8-24.0 oz

Wingspan: 24.4-35.4 in

Copper’s Hawks may be seen across most of Arizona throughout the year. The size difference between Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks is the best way to distinguish the two species. Cooper’s Hawks, like Sharpies, enjoy preying on other birds and may be a nuiscance in residential areas. For some guidance on distinguishing between the two hawks, watch the video below.


Length: 13.4-17.3 in

Weight: 9.3-19.8 oz

Wingspan: 31.9-39.4 in

According to allaboutbirds.org, the Broad-winged Hawk has a fairly limited migration range just west of the Grand Canyon, so I almost left it off of Arizona’s hawk list. In the spring, keep an eye out for them as they are commonly seen in this section of the state at that time of year.

In the fall, hundreds of thousands of Broad-winged Hawks head out of South America on their way to their breeding grounds in North America. They are discovered in the eastern side of the United States once they arrive. Nevertheless, except in parts of western North America, it is widespread throughout most of Canada. In Arizona, they’re fairly uncommon.


Length: 20.9-25.2 in

Weight: 22.3-48.1 oz

Wingspan: 40.5-46.1 in

The Northern Goshawk is the bigger relative to the Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks, with a year-round range across Arizona, especially in the eastern portion. The name of this raptor comes from the Old English term for “goose hawk,” which signifies that it preys on other birds. Their mostly gray color, orange or red eyes, and white stripes across their eyes that resemble eyebrows are easily identifying characteristics.


Length: 18.5-20.5 in

Weight: 25.2-49.4 oz 

Wingspan: 52.0-54.3 in

Except for the southernmost parts of Arizona, where they are more scarce, the Rough-legged Hawk has a non-breeder population throughout the state. Anywhere in the United States, the best time to see one is now. Since they migrate north to breed each year during the winter, they are rarely seen during the summer. Their feathered legs, which extend all the way down to their toes, are an easy way to tell them apart. The Ferruginous Hawk, which is farther down on this list of Arizona hawks, is the only other species of hawk with this characteristic.


Length: 21 in

Weight: 28-33 oz 

Wingspan: 50 in

Although they have been observed in other areas of the state, the Common Black Hawk’s breeding range is restricted to areas of central and southeastern Arizona. In Central America and the northern tip of South America, they are mostly found along the coast. They are mostly opportunistic feeders and may be found perching low in trees, waiting for prey such as fish, crabs, lizards, and amphibians. With a yellow beak, they are mostly black in color.


Length: 18.1-23.2 in

Weight: 18.2-31.0 oz

Wingspan: 40.5-46.9 in

In regions of southern central Arizona near the cities of Phoenix and Tucson, the Harris’ Hawk is a year-round resident. They have white tipped tail feathers and their plumage is made up of dark brown and chestnut red feathers. Unlike many other species that hunt alone, they are well-known for being the most social hawks in North America. They aren’t often seen around bird feeders because their primary diet is medium-sized animals like rabbits, squirrels, and rodents.


Length: 15-24 in

Weight: 13.8-16.8 oz

Wingspan: 25-35 in

In the United States, Gray Hawks have a narrow range. It can be found in Arizona’s southeastern corner. They’re bigger than the big Red-tailed Hawk, but not by much. Their chests are finely gray and white striped, and their tails have white stripes, much like the name implies. They’re mostly gray in color. Due to its appearance and range, they were dubbed the Mexican Goshawk, which is their favorite food.


Length: 18.9-22.1 in

Weight: 24.4-48.2 oz

Wingspan: 48 in

With a breeding range in the eastern parts of the state and a migratory range to the west, Swainson’s Hawks may be found throughout Arizona. Summer is the best season to observe these hawks on utility poles along the highway, looking for prey on the ground. In April and September, they may be observed in huge flocks known as “kettles” traveling in the thousands. Some travel from Southern South America all the way to Alaska to breed, making them one of the longest migratory routes of any American raptor.


Length: 17.7-22.1 in

Weight: 4.2-4.9 oz

Wingspan: 46.9-55.1 in

Central Arizona is the northernmost point of the Zone-tailed Hawk’s range. They breed in sections of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas during the spring and summer, when they migrate north from Central and South America. They have been known to imitate the harmless Turkey Vulture in order to trick their victim and resemble it. One of the least studied birds of prey in North America is Zone-tailed Hawks, and they remain largely unknown.


Length: 22.1-27.2 in

Weight: 34.5-73.2 oz

Wingspan: 52.4-55.9 in

In Arizona’s northern half, the Ferruginous Hawk is a year-round resident, whereas in the southern half, it is a winter migrant. They are the only other species with feathers from their toes down to the ground, alongside the Rough-legged Hawk. Even larger than the Red-tailed Hawk, they are the biggest of all North American hawks.

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