Formerly known as the Bay-winged Hawk or Dusky Hawk, is a medium-large bird of prey which breeds from the southwestern United States south to Chile and central Argentina. Birds are sometimes reported at large in Western Europe, especially Britain, but it is a popular species in falconry and these records almost certainly all refer to escapes from captivity. It is the only member of the genus Parabuteo. The name is derived from the Greek para, meaning beside, near or like, and the Latin buteo, referring to a kind of buzzard; uni meaning once; and cinctus meaning girdled, referring to the white band at the tip of the tail. John James Audubon gave this bird its English name in honor of his ornithological companion, financial supporter, and friend Edward Harris. The Harris Hawk is notable for its behavior of hunting cooperatively in "packs", consisting of family groups while most other raptors hunt in solitary.
Harris's Hawks live in sparse woodland and semi-desert, as well as marshes (with some trees) in some parts of their range, including mangrove swamps, as in parts of their South American range. Harris's Hawks are permanent residents and do not migrate. Feeding-The diet of the Harris's Hawk consists of small creatures including birds, lizards, mammals, and large insects. Because it often hunts in groups, the Harris's Hawk can also take down larger prey, such as jackrabbits. Breeding They nest in small trees, shrubby growth, or cacti. The nests are often compact, made of sticks, plant roots, and stems, and are often lined with leaves, moss, bark and plant roots. They are built mainly by the female. There are usually two to four white to blueish white eggs sometimes with a speckling of pale brown or gray. The nestlings start out light buff, but in five to six days turn a rich brown. Very often, there will be three hawks attending one nest: two males and one female. Whether or not this is polyandry is debated, as it may be confused with backstanding (one bird standing on another's back). The female does most of the incubation. The eggs hatch in 31 to 36 days. The young begin to explore outside the nest at 38 days, and fledge, or start to fly, at 45 to 50 days. The female sometimes breeds two or three times in a year. Young may stay with their parents for up to three years, helping to raise later broods.
Hunting-While most raptors are solitary, only coming together for breeding and migration, Harris's Hawks will hunt in cooperative groups of two to six. This is believed to be an adaptation to the desert climate in which they live. In one hunting technique, a small group flies ahead and scouts, then another group member flies ahead and scouts, and this continues until prey is bagged and shared. In another, all the hawks spread around the prey and one individual flushes it. The wild Harris's Hawk population is declining due to habitat loss; however, under some circumstances, they have been known to move into developed areas. Falconry-Since about 1980, Harris's Hawks have been increasingly used in falconry and are now the most popular hawks in the West (outside of Asia) for that purpose, as they are one of the easiest to train and the most social.
Lat: 39.65, Long: -105.16
Spotted on Jul 23, 2009
Submitted on Nov 3, 2012
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