Oklahoma is home to many species of hawks, which can be found in nearly every corner of the Sooner State. The most common Hawks In Oklahoma are the Red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, and the Red-shouldered hawk.
These majestic predators often soar through the air on wide wingspans, searching for prey like small mammals and birds. They also inhabit open fields, pastures, deciduous forests, wetlands, and other grassland habitats throughout Oklahoma. During the breeding season, they are evident while perched atop tall trees or fence posts, calling out shrill cries to announce their presence.
In addition to providing necessary pest control services, Hawks in Oklahoma play a crucial role in our ecosystem – providing essential nutrients for soil health by dispersing seeds from their droppings and helping keep populations of certain wildlife species balanced.
Different Species of Hawks in Oklahoma
Hawks in Oklahoma have been a subject of fascination for birders and nature lovers for centuries. Oklahoma is home to various hawks and other birds of prey, making it an ideal location for spotting these majestic creatures. Within the state, nine species of hawks can be found across various habitats, ranging from forests to prairies.
The Red-Tailed Hawk is an iconic species of raptor in the United States, and Oklahoma is proudly home to some of the most magnificent examples. This beautiful bird of prey has a long history in Oklahoma, with its range stretching from far western deserts to eastern woodlands. Its distinct call can be heard across the state as it takes advantage of its diverse habitats throughout the year.
The Red-Tailed Hawk’s name comes from its signature red tail feathers, which make for easy identification amongst other birds in flight. This hawk also possesses impressive wingspans that can reach up to four feet wide, which helps them soar through the skies with ease while they search for food or nesting sites. The diet of these birds consists primarily of small mammals such as rodents and rabbits, but they will occasionally feed on fish or lizards too.
• Scientific name: Buteojamaicensis
• Length: 18-25 inches
• Weight: 2-4 pounds
• Wingspan: 45-52 inches
The Sharp-Shinned Hawk, a small but powerful raptor, is one of Oklahoma’s most common birds of prey. These beautiful birds are often spotted atop telephone poles or high above open fields, searching for their next meal.
Sharp-shinned Hawks have an unmistakable silhouette and coloring that’s easily identifiable from afar. They have long tails, rounded wings, and rusty red feathers on their back with white barring underneath. A broad black bar extends from shoulder to shoulder across the chest, making them stand out amongst other hawks in Oklahoma skies. Their small size makes them highly efficient hunters, capable of chasing down hummingbirds or even larger songbirds with incredible speed and agility.
• Scientific name: Accipiter striatus
• Length:10-14 inches
• Weight: 0.5 pounds
• Wingspan: 20-28 inches
Cooper’s hawks, also known as Accipiter cooperii, are common in Oklahoma. These birds of prey have wide wingspans and rely on their impressive hunting skills to catch small mammals and birds. This species is native to North America, with Oklahoma being one of their excellent places to live.
Cooper’s hawks are characterized by their unique plumage, which consists of grey, black, and white feathers. They have short yellow legs and a curved beak, which helps them easily tear apart their prey. The size of these hawks varies from region to region; those found in Oklahoma tend to be slightly smaller than in other areas.
These majestic raptors can be seen flying through open skies or perched atop telephone posts scanning for prey below them.
• Scientific name: Accipiter cooperii
• Length: 14.6-17.7 inches
• Weight: 1.16 pounds
• Wingspan: 24.4-35.4 inches
The Ferruginous Hawk is a unique and majestic bird of prey found in Oklahoma since the late 1800s. This large hawk can easily be recognized by its rusty-red feathers, whitetail, and dark wingtips. It is an essential part of Oklahoma’s natural history as it helps to keep the rodent population in check.
This hawk breeds primarily in western and central Oklahoma grasslands during summer. They will also frequent agricultural areas where they can find food, such as mice, voles, insects, and small birds. During winter months, they may migrate south or stay in their home range depending on weather conditions and food availability.
The Ferruginous Hawks in Oklahoma are listed as threatened because it has experienced a significant population decline due to human activities such as habitat destruction from development and agricultural practices.
• Scientific name: Buteoregalis
• Length: 20-26 inches
• Weight: 3.3 pounds
• Wingspan: 53-60 inches
The Swainson’sHawk is a species found throughout North America and parts of South America. Though their population has seen some decline in recent years, the species can still be found in Oklahoma. The Swainson’s Hawk is a medium-sized hawk with distinctive color patterning. It is known for its long wings that span an average of four feet and its dark head with white streaks down the sides.
This bird can nest in open grasslands and lightly wooded areas near creeks or rivers throughout much of Oklahoma. They tend to migrate south during the winter but have been recorded living year-round in southern parts of Oklahoma, such as Ardmore and Altus.
• Scientific name: Buteoswainsoni
• Length: 18-22 inches
• Weight: 1.8-2.5 pounds
• Wingspan: 47-57 inches
The Broad-Winged Hawk is a widespread buteo species found in many parts of the United States, including Oklahoma. This majestic bird of prey has been known to inhabit wooded habitats within the state for many years. The Broad-Winged Hawk is easily identifiable by its dark head and chest with light brown upperparts and white underparts. It also typically has a distinctive white patch on its shoulder and tail feathers, making it stand out from other birds in the area.
These hawks in Oklahoma can often be seen soaring through the sky during migration as it travels between northern breeding grounds and southern wintering sites. During their time here, they may hunt small mammals or reptiles, such as squirrels, mice, snakes, and lizards.
• Scientific name: Buteoplatypterus
• Length: 13.4-17.3 inches
• Weight: 1 pound
• Wingspan: 32-39.4 inches
The Northern Goshawk is one of Oklahoma’s largest and most impressive hawks. With a wingspan of up to 3 feet, it’s a formidable sight soaring through the skies. This large bird of prey is native to North America and can be found in wooded areas throughout Oklahoma.
Goshawks are potent hunters that feed on small animals, such as rodents and birds, and larger prey, like rabbits and squirrels. They use their sharp talons to snatch up their dinner before taking off back into the sky with an agility unmatched by other raptors. When nesting, they will build bulky nests high up in trees near clearings or open fields, making them hard to spot if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
• Scientific name: Accipiter gentilis
• Length: 18-27 inches
• Weight: 1.1-4.85 pounds
• Wingspan: 37-50 inches
The Rough-Legged Hawk is a species that has made its home in Oklahoma. A medium-sized raptor with long, broad wings and a black tail band, this majestic bird is often seen soaring over fields or perched on telephone poles. It is primarily found during migration seasons but can be seen year-round in some parts of Oklahoma.
This hawk loves to dine on small mammals such as voles and lemmings, but it will also scavenge carrion when food sources are limited. Its diet also consists of small birds and insects. During migration, they are more likely to be found along shorelines or near water sources than in landlocked areas due to their increased need for food while traveling long distances.
• Scientific name: Buteolagopus
• Length: 18.5-20.5 inches
• Weight: 2 pounds
• Wingspan: 52-54 inches
Red-Shouldered Hawks in Oklahoma
The Red-shouldered Hawks in Oklahoma are very common. This raptor can be seen soaring through the skies or perched atop branches and fence posts, hunting for small mammals and reptiles to eat. It has long been part of the state’s landscape, but its population has recently declined due to habitat destruction from urban sprawl.
These birds are easily recognized by their reddish-brown back and shoulder feathers, which contrast sharply with their white bellies and chestnut-colored tails. They grow up to 16 inches tall and have a wingspan of nearly 4 feet. In Oklahoma, these hawks typically inhabit forests near rivers or streams, where they can hunt for prey like mice, lizards, snakes, and frogs.
• Scientific name: ButeoLineatus
• Length: 17-24 inches
• Weight: 1-1.7 pounds
• Wingspan: 37-43.7 inches
The hawks in Oklahoma are an essential and beneficial member of the state’s ecosystem. They provide natural pest control and are also majestic creatures that can be observed while soaring through the skies. The best way to ensure that these beautiful birds continue to thrive and flourish in Oklahoma is by properly managing their habitat. This includes avoiding urban development near their nesting sites, protecting their food sources, and providing educational resources about them to the public.