9 Species of Hawks in Nevada

The beautiful Hawks in Nevada are a sight to behold. These majestic birds make their home in the state’s evergreen forests, deserts, and wetlands. Different species of hawks live in Nevada: northern goshawks, red-tailed hawks, and Cooper’s hawks. Each species is distinct and offers something unique to the landscape.

Northern goshawks are found chiefly in mountainous areas within Nevada. They have slate-gray upper parts with a white throat and thick white bands across their tail feathers. Red-tailed hawks can be seen soaring over open fields or nesting on telephone poles throughout the state. They have distinctive reddish tails and brown backs with lighter undersides for camouflage when hunting prey from above.

Different Species of Hawks in Nevada

Hawks are majestic birds of prey that live in many different areas worldwide. Nevada is no exception. Various species of hawks can be spotted throughout the state, each with unique characteristics and beauty.


Hawks in Nevada

Swainson’sHawk is an incredible species of hawks that can be found in Nevada state. The bird is large, with a wingspan of up to four feet, and it has a unique mottled brown feather pattern on its upper body. Its characteristic white tail tip and broad black wings also distinguish it. Swainson’sHawk has the fantastic ability to migrate incredibly long distances; they have been known to travel from North America to South America!

The hawks make their homes in riparian corridors and dry grasslands found throughout Nevada. They stick around for breeding season during the spring months before heading south for the winter months, where they tend to congregate in flocks of thousands.


• Scientific name: Buteoswainsoni
• Length: 18.9-22.1 inches
• Weight: 24.4-48.2 ounces
• Wingspan: 48 inches

Ferruginous Hawk

In Nevada specifically, Ferruginous Hawks are seen most often during the late summer months while they search for prey such as small rodents or birds. Birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts have reported sightings of these majestic birds throughout many regions of the state, including Reno, Las Vegas, Fallon, Elko, Lovelock, and Ely. They are also seen migrating south during the winter to warmer climates where more food is available.


• Scientific name:Buteoregalis
• Length: 22.1-27.2 inches
• Weight: 34.5-73.2 ounces
• Wingspan: 52.4-55.9 inches

Cooper’s Hawk

Hawks in Nevada

Cooper’s Hawks are a regular and familiar sight throughout Nevada. These hawks are medium-sized birds of prey that can reach up to 18 inches in length and have striking plumage, with a slate gray head, chestnut and black barred back, and a white tail.

Cooper’s Hawks prefer wooded habitats, but they can also be seen near agricultural or urban areas with plenty of prey to feed on. These hawks in Nevada hunt small rodents such as mice and voles and lizards, snakes, and insects. They may even take smaller birds from time to time. Cooper’s Hawks possess incredible speed in pursuit—they can reach up to 50 mph!


• Scientific name: Accipiter cooperii
• Length: 14.6-17.7 inches
• Weight: 7.8-24 ounces
• Wingspan: 24.4-35.4 inches

Northern Goshawk

Hawks in Nevada

The Northern Goshawk is one of the most prominent Hawks in Nevada, with an impressive wingspan reaching up to four feet wide. They use powerful talons and beaks for hunting small mammals such as voles, rabbits, and grouse. They can even tackle larger prey like snowshoe hares or young turkeys! Their bright eyesight helps them spot their meal from a distance before swooping down to catch it with their claws. Northern Goshawks in Nevada also enjoy scavenging for food among humans.


• Scientific name: Accipiter gentilis
• Length: 20.9-25.2 inches
• Weight: 22.3-48.1 ounces
• Wingspan: 40.5-46.1 inches

Common Black Hawk

Hawks in Nevada

The black Hawk is a medium-sized raptor with a wingspan of up to five feet. It has dark brown feathers on the upper parts, light buffy feathers on the underside, and white wing linings. The tail is short and square-tipped with pale bands at the tip. These birds feed mainly on small mammals but also eat bird eggs and some reptiles when available.

In Nevada, black hawks usually breed in high-elevation cliffs during late spring or early summer, where they build nests made up of sticks and lined with grasses or mosses.


• Scientific name: Buteogallusanthracinus
• Length: 17-21 inches
• Weight: 28-33 ounces
• Wingspan: 50 inches

Red-Tailed Hawk

Hawks in Nevada

The red-tailed Hawk is a large bird of prey easily distinguishable by its reddish-brown plumage. It has wingspans of up to 48 inches and weighs up to three pounds. These hawks usually soar above open fields or perch atop trees, poles, or other high structures. They primarily feed on small rodents such as mice, rats, and voles but occasionally feed on smaller birds and insects.


• Scientific name:Buteojamaicensis
• Length: 17.7-25.6 inches
• Weight: 24.3-51.5 ounces
• Wingspan: 44.9-52.4 inches

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Hawks in Nevada

Sharp-Shinned Hawks are a species of raptor native to the state of Nevada. These small but powerful birds have adapted well to the harsh climate and mountainous terrain in which they live, making them well-suited to their habitat. The sharp-shinned Hawk is one of the smallest hawks found in North America, with an average wingspan of 18 inches, yet its agility and strength make it a formidable hunter.

The sharp-shinned Hawk can be found throughout most of Nevada’s diverse habitats, from alpine forests to lowland desert scrub. They typically hunt from perches or hover in midair, preying mainly on small rodents and birds such as thrushes or wrens.


• Scientific name: Accipiter striatus
• Length: 9.4-13.4 inches
• Weight: 3.1-7.7 ounces
• Wingspan: 16.9-22.1 inches

Northern Harrier Hawks in Nevada

Hawks in Nevada

The Northern Harrier Hawks can be found soaring the skies of Nevada. These majestic birds are a sight to behold and provide a unique bird-watching experience for locals and tourists alike. Their distinct features, long wings, and remarkable flight patterns make them an impressive addition to the Nevada landscape.

Northern Harrier Hawks inhabit much of North America, with habitats ranging from wetlands and grasslands to forests, coastal areas, and urban sites. In Nevada, they occupy marshes and other swamps in the northern part of the state, particularly in Churchill County near Fallon, where their populations remain strong due to protected nature reserves.

They feed on small mammals such as voles, mice, squirrels, rabbits, and birds. This makes them an important species for maintaining balance within local ecosystems by controlling small mammal populations that could otherwise exceed normal limits.


• Scientific name: Circus hudsonius
• Length: 18.1-19.7 inches
• Weight: 10.6-26.5 ounces
• Wingspan: 40.2-46.5 inches

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-Legged Hawks (RLHs) are a familiar sight in the skies of Nevada. These large birds, which have an impressive wingspan of up to four feet, can be seen soaring high above the state’s valleys and mountains. RLHs are a migratory species, so they can be seen in Nevada during the winter when they migrate south from their breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska. During this time, they feed on small mammals such as rabbits, hares, and voles, which is why they are often found near grasslands or open areas with plenty of these prey species available.

Dining on small mammals, RLHs also enjoy eating insects and other invertebrates, such as worms and crayfish. They primarily hunt by hovering overhead and diving down to snatch their prey off the ground using their powerful talons.


• Scientific name:Buteolagopus
• Length: 18.5-20.5 inches
• Weight: 25.2-49.4 ounces
• Wingspan: 52.0-54.3 inches

Wrapping Up

Hawks in Nevada play an essential role in the local environment. They act as natural predators, keeping the balance between prey and predators. Hawks also help reduce insect populations, thereby helping to maintain agricultural production. Moreover, hawks help keep smaller bird populations in check by preying on them when food is scarce. This helps to prevent overcrowding of certain species that might otherwise hurt the environment.


Do hawks live in Nevada?

Yes, hawks do live in Nevada. Several hawks reside in the state, including the Bald Eagle, Northern Harpy Eagle, and American Kestrel.

What is the most prominent hawk in Nevada?

The most prominent hawk in Nevada is the harpy eagle. It can weigh up to 3 kg and have a wingspan of up to 2.5 m.