14 Species Of Hawks In Texas (With Pictures)

Texas is the biggest state in the continental United States, with a total area of 268,820 square miles. Texas is situated just north of Mexico, and it is also on the routes of various different bird species. As a result, there are several distinct varieties of hawks found in Texas.

The family Accipitridae includes eagles and kites, as well as hawks, which are birds of prey. Hawks may be found in almost 200 different species throughout the globe, with the United States hosting up to 25 of them. In Texas, we’ve discovered at least 14 of these hawks.

Allaboutbirds.org and other sources were used to verify the species of hawks that I could find in some part of Texas with a limited range. Each of the birds on the list has a photograph, size, and a short description. Have a nice day!


The 14 types of hawks found in Texas are listed below. Others are uncommon and only found in the state’s southernmost tip, while others may be year-long inhabitants. A few species, such as the Common Black Hawk, Great Black Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Crane Hawk, and Roadside Hawk, were excluded from this list since they are rare vagrants in Texas.

*All measurements are based on averages of males and females of the species 


Length: 17.7-25.6 in

Weight: 24.3-51.5 oz

Wingspan: 44.9-52.4 in

The Red-tailed Hawk is the first species of hawk that most people in Texas and North America will see. Apart from a section of the mid-west, where they move for breeding only, they are year-round residents throughout Texas and most of the United States. One of the biggest birds of prey in North America is the red-tailed hawk.

Their enormous size, crimson tails, and shrill cries, which are commonly heard in films and on TV to symbolize all raptors, make them immediately identifiable. Red-tailed Hawks, which are waiting for their next meal to appear, are frequently seen perched high on telephone wires or in treetops.

They prefer to hunt small to medium-sized mammals, and unlike cooper’s or sharpie, they don’t often seek bird seed. Despite their abundance, these are a treat to see because they’re such a magnificent raptor.


Length: 16.9-24.0 in

Weight: 17.1-27.3 oz

Wingspan: 37.0-43.7 in

Southern and eastern Texas, as well as much of the US’s eastern half, are home to the Red-shouldered Hawk. They’re a little smaller than red-tails and are classified as medium-sized hawks. The reddish-brown breast and black/white checkered wings of Red-shouldered Hawks distinguish them from other species.

They also prefer to hunt small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and occasionally other birds from high up on wires and in trees. Baby Red-shouldered Hawks are stolen from their nests by the great horned owl, who eats them. The breeding location of Red-shouldered Hawks is usually the same every year.


Length: 18.9-22.1 in

Weight: 24.4-48.2 oz

Wingspan: 48 in

Swainson’s Hawks may be located in eastern, northern, and southern Texas, and are a medium to large hawk. Their migratory path takes them south through Mexico, Central America, and into the southern parts of South America. Their range extends north into Canada and Alaska. They’re quite prevalent in Texas, and in April or September of each year, you might see a big flock of these raptors flying overhead.

Swainson’s Hawks are opportunistic feeders, so depending on where they are at the moment, their diet varies. They are known to eat a wide range of insects, including dragonflies, moths, crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles, when they are not in the breeding season. Small animals, reptiles, and amphibians, as well as other birds, are the normal prey of raptors.


Length: 13.4-17.3 in

Weight: 9.3-19.8 oz

Wingspan: 31.9-39.4 in

The eastern half of Texas is home to the Broad-winged Hawk, which has a migratory range that extends north to the Mexican border. The bird’s breeding area is limited to the state’s eastern region, particularly Houston. Thousands of Broad-winged Hawks migrate in huge flocks called “kettles” every year. These enormous flocks are often spotted in southern Texas, passing through big cities like San Antonio and Austin every season. They may be observed passing via huge cities like these during their migration route.

Each year, Broad-winged Hawks lay one egg containing 1-5 eggs. With the aid of the male, the female is in charge of building the nest. They’ll fiercely guard their nesting spot and, as a minimum, keep at least a half-mile distance from other raptors while constructing their nests. Most other birds of prey eat the same foods, so their diet is consistent.


Length: 18.1-23.2 in

Weight: 18.2-31.0 oz

Wingspan: 40.5-46.9 in

Harris’ Hawks are the most social raptors in North America, and they can be found across much of southern Texas, as well as sections of central and eastern Texas. Harris’ Hawks, like most other hawk species, hunt in groups of up to seven birds. The longer the life expectancy of a hawk, the larger the group it is a part of is thought to be.

Their dark brown plumage, red wings and legs, and white-tipped tail distinguish them from other birds. They have plenty of high perches for perching, feeding, and nesting in their desert lowlands. The fact that this species does not appear to have any breeding restrictions is another thing that makes them unique. They’ve been seen to breed every single month of the year and may produce up to three clutches of eggs each year.


Length: 22.1-27.2 in

Weight: 34.5-73.2 oz

Wingspan: 52.4-55.9 in

Only the far eastern and far southern sections of Texas have a winter range for the Ferruginous Hawk. These huge hawks, which range in color from light to dark, are comparable in size to Red-tailed Hawks and are often observed in two types; light and dark.

The underparts of the light morph are extremely pale, while the upper parts are more rusty. The tail of the dark morphs is usually pale brown. Ferruginous is a color that means “rust-colored.” These raptors, like the Harris’ Hawk, hunt or roost in groups of five to ten birds.


Length: 18.5-20.5 in

Weight: 25.2-49.4 oz 

Wingspan: 52.0-54.3 in

The only American hawks with feathered legs all the way down to their toes are Rough-legged Hawks and Ferruginous Hawks. The Rough-legged Hawk, like the Ferruginous Hawk, has two separate morphs: light and dark.

In both morphs, the plumage of males and females is quite different. Dark morphs are a dark chocolate brown color with two-toned light/dark under their wings and tails, while light morphs are overall lighter in hue and have a mottled pattern.

Winter is the best time to see Rough-legged Hawks in Texas and the United States because they have a non-breeding range across most of the state. Each season, they travel north to breed in the Arctic regions of Alaska and northern Canada.


Length: 14.6-17.7 in

Weight: 7.8-24.0 oz

Wingspan: 24.4-35.4 in

In the United States, Copper’s Hawks are quite common. They’re typically spotted in urban areas, gardens, and hunting for birdseed. The majority of Texas is home to this raptor, which has a year-round range. For breeding, many of the hawks in Texas’ border region migrate north to Canada’s northern territories and southern states.

The head and topside of these medium-sized birds are blue-gray, and their breast is marbled with reddish stripes. Their tails are banded in dark bands. Other birds are the major food of the Cooper’s Hawk, which is why they are so prevalent in backyards withbird feeders. It’s preferable to take down your feeders for a few days if you see a Cooper’s Hawk perched in your yard.


Length: 9.4-13.4 in

Weight: 3.1-7.7 oz

Wingspan: 16.9-22.1 in

The Sharp-shinned Hawk, often known as the “sharpie,” is a little to medium-sized raptor that resembles the Cooper’s Hawk in appearance. However, since maches sizes differ in men, womales, and juveniles, it may be difficult at times to discern the differences between the species.

They migrate north to breed in Canada, Alaska, and just the northernmost parts of the lower 48 states. They have a non-breeding range throughout Texas. During the autumn migration, you have the best chance to see one of these guys. Sharpies, like Cooper’s Hawks, are frequently seen in backyards around bird feeders. They feed primarily on other birds and can be found near them.


Length: 15-24 in

Weight: 13.8-16.8 oz

Wingspan: 25-35 in

Gray Hawks are a tropical species that measures between Red-tailed and Cooper’s Hawk in size. They’re most prevalent in Central America, although they do appear in Texas and Arizona’s southern sections. They have striped underparts and a light/dark banded tail, as the name suggests, and are gray in color.

Little creatures, including little mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, but particularly lizards, are their main sources of food. The Gray Hawk was once known as the Mexican Goshawk because it looks a lot like accipiters like the Northern Goshawk.


Length: 17-24 in

Weight: 31.0-43.6 oz

Wingspan: 46-56 in

Central and South America are home to this neotropical raptor, but North America is not. In reality, the White-tailed Hawk can only be found in the southernmost tip of Texas, making it North America’s sole state. In neighboring states, random sightings have been reported, although they were likely vagrants and unusual.

This bird does not migrate, however it may seek food in various areas. They have a dark and light morph like a few of the others on this list, and they are generally gray on top with white underparts. Rats, mice, pocket gophers, rabbits, birds, snakes, lizards, frogs, and crabs make up the majority of their diet.


Length: 20.9-25.2 in

Weight: 22.3-48.1 oz

Wingspan: 40.5-46.1 in

With just a non-breeding population in Texas, the Northern Goshawk is considered rare. The northern portion of Texas, particularly around Amarillo, is home to this limited range. Large birds of prey like Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Goshawks are a common sight.

Adults have a light stripe over their eyes and are dark slate gray on top with barred light gray underparts. Northern Goshawks are very difficult to spot since they live and breed in high-up tree forests. They eat a wide variety of prey, including other birds, animals, carrion, and insects. They are mostly opportunistic eaters with a broad range of prey.


Length: 17.7-22.1 in

Weight: 21.4-33 oz

Wingspan: 46.9-55.1 in

Each year, the Zone-tailed Hawk travels from Southern Mexico and Central America to Eastern Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to breed. While hunting, these medium-sized hawks take advantage of this because most of their prey mistakes Turkey Vultures for mostly harmless birds. These grayish-black hawks are grayish-black in color and are commonly mistaken for Turkey Vultures.

Their tail is striped with white, and their underside of their wings is two-toned. Since the 1990s, their range has steadily expanded northward into the United States.


Length: 18.1-19.7 in (46-50 cm)

Weight: 10.6-26.5 oz (300-750 g)

Wingspan: 40.2-46.5 in (102-118 cm)

Only hawks indigenous to North America are the Northern Harrier, which is a variety of hawk. It breeds as far north as Canada, but winters in Texas and other southern states. In fields and marshes, they prefer to live and hunt.

Northern Harriers, like owls, hunt by both hearing and sight, and they may drown their bigger prey if they can’t subdue them. While it is more prevalent for males to have just one or two female partners, they may have up to five at a time.

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