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Common Black Hawk

Silhouette HawksHawks
Common Black HawkButeogallus anthracinus
  • ORDER: Accipitriformes
  • FAMILY: Accipitridae

Basic Description

A soot-colored hawk with massively broad wings, the Common Black Hawk cuts a distinctive profile in wet wooded habitats along rivers and streams of the southwestern U.S. The adult's black plumage is offset by a broad white tail band and yellow bill and legs. Juveniles are streaky brown. Common Black Hawks are rare in the U.S. but common in Mexico and southward. They typically perch over water and drop down swiftly to take prey, such as crayfish and fish.

More ID Info
image of range map for Common Black Hawk
Year-roundBreedingMigrationNonbreeding
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

In the U.S., Common Black Hawks can be hard to find. Look along wooded streams of remote canyons of the Southwest—or travel to Mexico or Central America, where the species is much more common and occurs in mangrove forests, swamps, and marshes. Look for them perched in trees overhanging a river, or soaring on warm mornings beginning around 10:00 a.m. Listen for a shrill, Osprey-like call as they circle over their territory.

Other Names

  • Busardo Negro (Spanish)
  • Buse noire (French)
  • Cool Facts

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