Hawk Species in Oregon

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Hawks are graceful, predatory birds.
Hawks are graceful, predatory birds. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The open natural habitats of Oregon are home to numerous birds of prey including eagles, owls, vultures and falcons. Of the many species, nine are medium-sized raptors classified as hawks. The native hawk species vary in size and appearance. All are efficient hunters with keen eyesight who bring death from above to their prey.

Northern Harrier

The northern harrier grows to around 16 to 20 inches tall and 10 to 21 ounces in weight. The hawk's wingspan can reach up to 4 feet across. It is a slender bird with a dark brown to blue brown back, pale underbelly and dark wing tips. The harrier is the only U.S. hawk species that mates for life with the same partner.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

The sharp-shinned hawk grows to between 9 and 13 inches in height and 3 to 8 ounces in weight. Its wingspan reaches just under 2 feet across. The hawk's back and wings are dark brown in color and it has a pale, white striped underbelly.

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper's hawk is a medium-sized bird that grows between 15 and 17 inches in height and 9 to 18 ounces in weight. It has a wingspan of around 35 inches across. Superficially it resembles the sharp-shinned hawk but is slightly larger on average. It is a federally protected bird species.

Northern Goshawk

The northern goshawk resembles both the Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks but is much larger than both. It grows to between 21 and 26 inches in height and weighs up to 3 lbs. The hawk's wingspan can reach almost 4 feet across. It is a protective bird that will defend its nest from all comers.

Red-Shouldered Hawk

The red-shouldered hawk is a medium-sized bird that grows to 24 inches in height and over one lb. in weight. It has a reddish brown back and chest with black and white barred wings. Compared to other hawks it has a relatively long tail and a more rounded wing shape.

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson's hawk is a medium to large hawk that grows to 22 inches in height with a wingspan in excess of 4 feet across. It is slender bodied hawk with dark brown to gray plumage with a white and black mottled underbelly. Some populations of this hawk can be more reddish brown in color.

Red-Tailed Hawk

The red-tailed hawk is the most common hawk variety in the U.S. It is a large species that grows up to 25 inches in height with a wingspan of over 4 feet. It has a dark to light brown coloring with a paler underbelly and a reddish tail.

Ferruginous Hawk

The ferruginous hawk is the largest hawk species in North America. It grows up to 27 inches in height, 4 lbs. in weight and has a wingspan of 5 feet across. It has a light to dark reddish-brown back and wings with a white lightly spotted underbelly.

Rough-Legged Hawk

The rough-legged hawk is a large species. It grows to 23 inches in height and has a wingspan of just under 5 feet across. It has a brown mottled back and wings with a pale chest and throat covered with darker spots. Unlike most other hawks, its feathers extend further down its legs to the top of its yellow feet.

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