- ORDER: Accipitriformes
- FAMILY: Accipitridae
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
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.
- Busardo Negro (Spanish)
- Buse noire (French)
- Cool Facts
- Common Black Hawks are creative hunters. In shallow water, they may wade in and flutter their wings to startle fish and other prey. Then they use the wings to “herd” prey into shallower water, where it is easier to capture.
- Common Black Hawks are habitat specialists that generally stay close to water, but when it comes to food, they are generalists. They eat pretty much whatever is available, from ants, to frogs, to rodents, to fish. Dietary flexibility is an advantage for a species whose habitat is subject to periods of drought.
- The oldest recorded Common Black Hawk, observed in a study in Arizona, was at least 7 years old.