Monday, September 5, 2011

Harris Hawk

The Harris hawk is a large hawk that is found in the south western United States, Mexico, Central America and parts of South America. They were once called bay-winged hawks or dusky hawks but were named the Harris hawk by J.J. Audubon after his friend Edward Harris. They are the only member of the genus Parabuteo.
In the southwestern United States Harris hawks usually nest from late February through March. They nest in small trees, shrubs, or on cacti. The nest is made of sticks, weeds and roots and is usually lined with moss, leaves, and soft grasses. Typically 2 to 4 eggs are laid which take 31 to 37 days to hatch. It takes another 35 to 50 days before the young can fly. Since these birds are found in a warm climate some females will continue to lay eggs year round having 2 to 3 clutches per year. The photo above is an immature bird.
Most raptor are solitary by nature but the Harris hawk is an exception to that rule. Harris hawks are sometimes believed to practice polyandry. This means that three adults, typically two males and one female, will nest together. The female usually does most of the incubating of the eggs but all three adults will help in defending and feeding the young. Harris hawks also often hunt together using pack type strategies. Several of the hawks will flush the prey while another will wait to ambush it. Groups using these pack style hunting techniques are more successful then birds that hunt solo.


KaHolly said...

By far one of my favorite birds to see when I'm in TX! Glad for all the information about them. I'm going to jot down some notes and put them in my field guide! ~karen

Guy said...


Interesting photos and some good information. A very nice post.


Roger Owen Green said...

regal, maybe even HAUGHTY hawk
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Kay L. Davies said...

Interesting about these birds hunting in a pack, and feeding one another's young.
Enjoyed your photos.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

photowannabe said...

Hawks are so regal and distinguished looking. Great shots of these magnificient birds.

Jedediah said...

I love the group shot, especially the bird on the left. He looks so adorably badtempered ,)

Cheryl said...

What awesome shots of this beautiful raptor.