Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Unknown Photographer
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The sharp-shinned hawk, Accipiter striatus, is a small raptor that breeds throughout both North America and South America in appropriate habitat. Northern populations migrate south for the winter, but some sharp-shinned hawks are year-round residents of the same area. The species is common throughout the year state-wide in Utah.

This hawk prefers forest and woodland habitats, often nesting in coniferous forests. Nests are located ten to sixty feet above the ground, usually in conifer trees. Although a new nest may be constructed, nests previously used by hawks, other birds, or squirrels may be modified and re-used. A clutch of four or five eggs is laid and then incubated, primarily by the female, for about one month. The male brings food to nest during the incubation period. The young can fly at about four weeks of age, and they become independent at about seven weeks of age.

The sharp-shinned hawk hunts by flying through wooded areas or by waiting on a perch until a prey item appears. Birds make up the majority of the diet, but small mammals, lizards, and insects are also consumed.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.