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Merlin Bird ID

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    Gray Hawk

    ID Info
    Silhouette HawksHawks

    Gray Hawk

    Buteo plagiatus
    • ORDER: Accipitriformes
    • FAMILY: Accipitridae
    Basic Description

    A tropical species that barely crosses the border into Arizona and Texas, the Gray Hawk is an elegant, raincloud-gray raptor with neatly barred underparts. They spend their days gracefully soaring over open areas or perched in cottonwoods, willows, and mesquites along lowland streams. They patiently watch for lizards, then catch them with a swift dart toward the ground. Gray Hawks are small for a hawk in the genus Buteo, and their longish tails and flap-and-glide flight style can make them resemble accipiters.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Gray HawkRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    To find Gray Hawks in their very limited United States range, visit cottonwood and willow stands along rivers in southern Arizona or the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas. During breeding season, listen for their whistled calls in wooded lowlands. They can be very inconspicuous as they sit perched in the forest canopy; if you can’t find them there then try scanning the skies in late morning and afternoon, when Gray Hawks soaring in the heat can be quite easy to pick out.

    Other Names
    • Aguililla Gris (Spanish)
    • Buse grise (French)
    • Cool Facts