Harris Hawk Information Guide
Native to the southwestern United States and South America, the Harris Hawk, or desert buzzard as it is sometimes known, is a medium-to-large sized Bird of Prey. This hardy bird can adapt to a number of climates, and can now be found around the world.
The guide below explores the physical and behavioural characteristics of the breed.
Harris Hawks: Breed Information Guide
Physical Appearance of Harris Hawks
Interestingly, these hawks are one of the few breeds that exhibit the phenomena of sexual dimorphism – this means the female Harris Hawk is larger and more prominent than the male. Individuals tend to range in length from around 18-30 inches, but have a wingspan of up to 3.6ft.
Weight can average between 25-36 oz, and in terms of colouring, these birds have a distinctive chestnut brown plumage with a flash of white on the tip of the tale. Vocally, the bird can sound extremely threatening, emitting a harsh sound.
Diet of Harris Hawks
As with most Birds of Prey, the Harris Hawk tends to feast on a number of small animals, including birds, lizards, rabbits and large insects. However, on occasion these birds can swoop down on larger play, as uniquely from other raptor birds, the Harris Hawk hunts in groups.
Larger prey can be at risk from this powerful predator, as these birds will fly together in a cooperative pack of up to 6 individuals. Fascinatingly, a couple of birds from the pack will assume the role of flying ahead and targeting the prey, while the hawks that follow will swoop and catch the prey.
Housing Harris Hawks
In terms of nesting, the wild Harris Hawk tends to settle in small trees, shrubbery and cacti. However, in parts of the United States, these birds have been known to adapt in urban areas, resting on high on electrical cables, although this can naturally put the bird in some danger. The female tends to build the nests.
Although these birds can be fearsome in the wild, they are also popular in falconry. The Harris Hawk has a high level of intelligence and excellent socialisation skills, so training these birds is often far easier than with other raptor birds.
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