California Hawks refer to raptors of California. In California, you just a license to own any hawk.
All the hawks in California state are secured under the state law.
Holding eggs and hunting California Hawks is also an illegal act under state law.
What will I learn?
- 1 All You Need To Know About 16 California Hawks
- 1.1 1. Cooper’s Hawk – The Most Significant Hawk Of California:
- 1.2 2 Red-Tailed Hawks – Notable Hawks In California:
- 1.3 3. Red-Shouldered Hawks:
- 1.4 4. Swainson’s Hawks – Prominent California Hawks:
- 1.5 5. Northern Goshawk:
- 1.6 6. Northern Harriers – Stunning California Hawks:
- 1.7 7. White-Tailed Kite – California Hawks:
- 1.8 8. Osprey – One Of The Distinctive California Hawks:
- 1.9 9. Sharp-Shinned Hawks:
- 1.10 10. Ferruginous Hawk:
- 1.11 11. Harris’s Hawk:
- 1.12 12. Merlins – Dominant California Hawks:
- 1.13 13. Prairie Falcon:
- 1.14 14. American Kestrel:
- 1.15 15. Broad-Winged Hawks:
- 1.16 16. California Condors – Influential California Hawks:
- 2 Conclusion:
There are over 30 species of raptors, including hawks, which are protected under state law.
California is home for many hawks, eagles, kites, and vultures, etc.
All You Need To Know About 16 California Hawks
Here we have a complete list of 16 California Hawks and their details.
Complete list of California hawks is discussed here along with their diet, feeding, nesting behavior, and much more.
If you want to know everything, then must check below.
1. Cooper’s Hawk – The Most Significant Hawk Of California:
Most of the time, Cooper’s Hawks are known as California Hawks. Some people think that another name of Cooper’s hawks is California Hawks.
Identification Of Cooper’s Hawk:
Cooper’s Hawk has little rounded wings and long rounded tail. Their eyes are near the beak. Crown of Cooper’s Hawk is merged with the forehead.
Color of eyes may vary from red to orange in adults, and matures pale yellowish. Adults have orange underparts, and matures have to brown.
Adults have the blue and grey upper part and mature have brown with white spots. They also in the category of California hawks.
Diet Of Cooper’s Hawk:
The Diet of Cooper’s Hawk is consists of small mammals. They use to eat little and medium-sized birds like Jays, Robbins, and Hummingbirds, etc.
Cooper’s hawks are very violent predators. Cooper’s hawks do not directly attack birds.
When they see birds while flying, they start moving in circles and try to find trees.
Cooper’s wait for some time and then attack to hunt birds.
If a bird tries to escape before the attack, Cooper’s follow him in the air and hunt him down. Average Hawk hunt two birds a day.
They also eat mammals like squirrels and bats and chipmunks. Bats are very well-known for their twisting and turning habits.
When Cooper’s Hawk follows bats, they succeed in hunting about 90%. Like other birds, they also like to eat insects.
Nest Of Cooper’s Hawk:
Cooper’s Hawk takes two weeks to complete the nest. Male and female both take part in making a nest, but males do majority work.
Females stop doing work before laying eggs.
Male took the responsibility to feed female Cooper’s Hawk before nesting starts.
Just like other birds, they make their nest in trees. Sometimes they use old nests of some other birds.
The nest is made up of twig piles, and the surface-level is low in the middle like a cup. The nest is lined with some soft material like green twigs or strips.
Cooper’s Hawk lay 2 to 6 eggs in a clutch.
The color of Cooper’s Hawk egg is pale blue. Incubation periods of Cooper’s last from 30 to 36 days.
In the Incubation period, male Cooper brings food for female Cooper. Female Cooper does incubation.
When female Cooper eats, then for a short time, male Cooper does incubation.
Nestling period of Cooper’s Hawk lasts from 4 to 5 weeks. Baby coopers start flying on the 4th or 5th week and begin leaving the nest.
After the nestling period, newborn Coopers are on their own.
Habitat Of Cooper’s Hawk:
Cooper’s Hawk can live in all seasons. They are not migrating birds. They use to live in forests and woodlands. Mostly they live in deciduous and conifer forests.
In a breeding season, they like to make their nest in open woodlands, farmland, and riparian woodlands, etc.
They like to live near edges and waterways of the woods in deep forests.
In the past, Coopers were scared to make their nests near a populated area. Now they have made their nests in urban areas. They’re using isolated trees near parks and shopping malls.
Coopers also prefer large metropolitan regions in even nesting season.
They also use to visit bird feeders in backyards and streets.
Threats To Cooper’s Hawk:
There are many threats to this species.
Shooting and excessive use of pesticides and insecticide are the significant reasons for the decline in this species.
Bioaccumulation, Lead poisoning, and wire strikes are also other threats to this species.
If we do not cut these threats from our society, we will not be able to see Cooper’s Hawk in our areas.
Due to these threats, they would never use to visit our countryside, and maybe this species vanishes.
See Also: What Do Baby Cardinals Eat
2 Red-Tailed Hawks – Notable Hawks In California:
The red-tailed Hawk has dark brown upperparts and pale brown underparts. They have a dark brown bar near the shoulder.
The tail of Red-tailed Hawk is reddish above and brownish below.
Red-tailed Hawk’s diet consists of small birds, reptiles, insects, and mammals. They use to eat rats, rabbits, squirrels, and voles in mammals.
Other than that, they use to eat snakes, bats, frogs, etc.
In a breeding season, males and females both take part in making a nest.
Red-tailed Hawk makes their nest in a taller tree and sometimes on high buildings or towers. Their nest is made up of sticks and covered with green-leafed branches.
Red-tailed Hawk lays 2 to 4 eggs in a clutch.
The incubation period of the red-tailed Hawk is 4 to 5 weeks. The color of their egg is white with brown spots.
Male usually catch the prey and pass to females. Female stays with young and feed them well.
They take 2 to 3 weeks to fly after hatching. Young Red-tailed hawks use to stay with their parents for several weeks.
3. Red-Shouldered Hawks:
Red-shouldered hawks are having a black and white check on wings and red spots on the breast.
The tail of Red-shouldered Hawk is long and black with white spots.
Red-shouldered Hawk’s daily diet contains little birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and amphibians.
Especially they like to eat chipmunks, frogs, crayfish, toads, snakes, insects, mice.
At the time of nesting, both males and females take part in nest making. They use to make their nest in deciduous or conifer trees.
Red-Shouldered Hawk nest is made with sticks and lined with green branches and bark. They reuse their nest in another season.
Red-shouldered Hawk lays 2 to 4 eggs in a single clutch. Their eggs are blue colored along with brown marks on them.
The incubation period of Red-shouldered Hawk is 33 days, and mostly incubation is done by females.
Male brings food for young and female feed young. Young starts flying at the age of 6 to 7 weeks.
Sometimes they may stay with their parents for 9 to 10 weeks.
See Also: 20 Amazing Hummingbirds Facts
4. Swainson’s Hawks – Prominent California Hawks:
Swainson’s hawks are large hawks, and they have little tail and broad wings. They are brown chested with grey above.
White pattern is visible on their wings along with brown color.
Diet of Swainson’s Hawk consists of mammals, reptiles, and insects. Their diet is highly dependent on weather conditions.
In summer, they like to eat lizards, mice, little birds, and squirrels, etc. In winter, they feed insects like grasshoppers and dragonflies.
They use to build their nest hidden in trees of open countryside in a breeding season.
Sometimes they use to make their nests on cliff or slope.
The nest is made up of sticks and twigs. Generally covered with leafy branches of trees and lined with weeds.
Swainson’s Hawk lay 2 to 4 eggs in a single clutch. Just like many other birds, females stay with young and males bring food for females and young.
After hatching, both male and female bring food for their young.
Baby Swainson start flying after 41 to 44 days of hatching. They use to stay long with their parents.
5. Northern Goshawk:
The northern goshawk is grey colored. Male and females are different in appearance. Females are larger as compared to males.
Northern goshawk’s diet contains birds and mammals. Birds mostly hunt by Northern goshawk are crows, woodpeckers, mallards, ducks, goose, kingfisher, and doves, etc.
In mammals, they use to eat squirrel, hares, rabbits, moles, hedgehogs, mice, and birds, etc.
They are very sharp predators. Speed and curls are their ultimate weapon of hunting.
The northern goshawk is a mate for life. It the responsibility of the male to bring food for females before laying eggs.
They use to make their nest in a mixed forest. Nest of northern goshawk is cup-shaped made up of twigs and sticks and covered with green branches.
They reuse their nest for laying eggs in the next breeding season.
Northern goshawk lays 2 to 5 eggs in a clutch. Incubation periods of Northern goshawk are between 32 to 39 days.
In the incubation period, males bring food for the Female.
They are very aggressive in defense of their nest; even they can draw blood. The Young northern goshawk starts flying in 5 or 6 weeks.
6. Northern Harriers – Stunning California Hawks:
Northern Harrier uses to eat small-sized birds and mammals. Their eating styles vary from place to place and weather to weather.
Northern Harrier like to eat rats, rodents, and little size rabbits. In birds, they feed doves, small-sized ducks, and teals, etc.
Large-sized insects are also one of the popular diets of Northern Harrier.
Some amphibians are also part of the daily intake of Northern Harrier.
Northern Harries are not mating for life.
Male may have more females, but males take care of females in the breeding season.
Supplying food is the ultimate responsibility of the male.
They use to build their nest on the ground or in fields. Building a nest lies in females’ responsibilities, and males provide the material for nest building.
Nest of Northern Harriers made up of sticks and weeds, covered with green grass.
In a clutch, Northern Harrier lays 4 to 6 eggs. Eggs of Northern harrier are bluish and sometimes have brown patches.
Incubation periods last from 30 to 32 days, and the responsibility of incubation is only on females.
Male took the responsibility of providing food and delivered food for young and female. Young start moving in 2 weeks after hatching.
After 4 to 5 weeks, young leave the nest and fed themselves.
See Also: How to Attract Blue Jays
7. White-Tailed Kite – California Hawks:
White-tailed Kite’s diet is very specialized. They stay near the countryside to fulfill their intake need.
Small rodents are the favorite diet of White-tailed Kite along with house mouse.
A minor part of their diet includes rats, rabbits, snakes, lizards, frogs, and snakes, etc.
Nest of White-tailed Kite is made up of twigs and sticks and covered with weed and moss. They use to build their nest on the top of the tree. Both males and females take part in the building of the nest.
In courtship, the male took responsibility to feed females. White-tailed Kite lay 4 to 6 eggs in a clutch.
The color of eggs is white, along with brown spots.
Females do all incubation of 26 to 32 days, and males provide food to females.
Male takes the responsibility of bringing food, and females feed to young.
Female break down the food into small pieces and serve it to nestlings. Later young start eating prey by themselves.
After 30 to 35 days, they start flying and find food for themselves. Sometimes young come to nest for sleep or food. They may do breed two times a season.
8. Osprey – One Of The Distinctive California Hawks:
Osprey is a fish lover. They fly over the water slowly to spot the fish. If the fish is deep down in the water, they grab it with heels and bring it to the nest.
They use to eat small-sized fish, 4 to 12 inches in size. The type of fish is not specified because the species of fish vary from region to region.
Majorly the diet of Osprey includes fishes, but sometimes they use to eat small sized birds, mammals, and reptiles only when there is no fish.
Both males and females take part in nest building. They use to make their nest on top of a tree near water.
Sometimes they use to build their nest on poles and ground. They apply to make their nest under the naked sky.
Their nest is made up of piles and twigs and covered with small bulky material. They usually use the same nest for many years, and the nest becomes bigger.
Osprey lays white eggs with brown spots, 2 to 4 eggs in a clutch. Females stay with nestlings and shelter them from heat and rain.
Male bring fish for females and nestlings.
Females feed the fish to young for 50 to 55 days. After 50 to 55 days, chicks start flying, and after that, they are on their own.
Osprey breed for a single time in a year.
9. Sharp-Shinned Hawks:
Sharp-shinned hawks are predators, and they use to stay in foliage and wait for small birds to approach.
Small birds are a significant part of the diet of Sharp-shinned Hawk. Sparrow, robins, and quail usually fall in little birds for Sharp-shinned Hawk.
A minor amount of bats, lizards, rodents, frogs, and snakes are part of their diet along with giant insects.
In a breeding season, both males and females bring material for nest making.
Nest of Sharp-shinned Hawk is deep from middle and made up of small sticks, covered with twigs and black stripes.
Sharp-shinned hawks usually make their nest deep in the forest. They use to make their nest in a hidden place so no one would reach there.
Sometimes they build their nest on the top of the nest of other birds.
In a clutch, Sharp-shinned Hawk lay 3 to 6 eggs. Their eggs are white and blue, along with brown spots on them.
Male Hawk brings food for the Female and sits on eggs for the time female is eating.
Bringing food is the responsibility of males, and feeding nestling is the responsibility of the Female.
Chicks slowly start moving out from nest after 3 to weeks of hatching. They properly begin flying at the age of 5 to 6 weeks.
10. Ferruginous Hawk:
Ferruginous Hawk’s diet consists of small and medium mammals. They are not keen on any food; they eat everything available at a time.
In mammals, mostly, they like to eat jackrabbits, squirrel, gophers, and kangaroo rats. They also use to feed giant size insects and small size birds.
Both males and females make a nest. Their nest is cup-shaped and made up of sticks and detritus. It is covered and lined with bulky material with dung cake.
They use to stay in a single nest for a long time and reuse nest annually, so their nest becomes vast.
They use to live in open-spaces and usually build their nest at the edge of woodlands.
Ferruginous Hawk lay 2 to 4 and rarely six eggs in a clutch. Their eggs are white-blue colored along with brown marks. Both male and female take part in incubation.
Incubation periods last from 32 to 34 days, while female stays and males bring food for her. After hatching, males bring food, and females feed it to young.
After three weeks of hatching, both parents bring food for chicks. At the age of 40 to 50 days, baby Ferruginous fly his first flight.
11. Harris’s Hawk:
Harris’ Hawk diet consists of small mammals, medium-sized birds, and giant insects.
Common prey of Harris’s Hawk is wild Turkey, cottontail, jackrabbit, squirrels, woodrats, gophers, quails, bobwhite, mockingbird, wren, lizards, and rabbits.
Breed of Harris’s Hawk includes two males with a single female. Three of them help in building the nest and live peacefully.
They use to build their nest high on the tree. Mostly the use tall tree, cactus, and power line towers. Harris’s hawks use to live near semi-deserts and woodlands.
All three take part in building nest, the nest is made up of twigs and lined with grass and leafy branches.
Harris’s Hawks reuse their nest for breeding purposes, so they continue the process of building and lining nest.
Harris’ Hawk lay 3 to 5 eggs in a clutch. The color of Harris’s Hawk egg is blue and white, along with brown blotch.
The incubation period lasts from 33 to 36 days; both males and females do incubation.
Both Males bring food for the Female and sit on the egg for the time while females eat.
After hatching, female feed to young while both males bring food. Young start moving after about 40 days of hatching.
After moving, they begin a stable flight within weeks. They breed for 2 to 3 times in a Year.
12. Merlins – Dominant California Hawks:
Merlins do hunting by observing prey from and a distance. They fly in the air when they are confident to hunt the prey.
Merlin uses to eat small birds and insects. Their prey includes house sparrow, pipits, bananaquits, dragonflies, moths, pigeons, flickers, and sandpipers.
Sometimes they also use to eat small mammals and reptiles.
In a breeding season, they use to make their nest in the used nest of Hawk or magpie.
Merlins have to make less effort while using some other bird’s old nest. They usually added a little amount of material to the existing nest for use.
Merlins use to live in open woodlands and near the countryside. During Migration, they live near grassland and coastal marshes.
In a clutch, Merlin usually lays 2 to 6 eggs. Their eggs are white along with brown marks, looks so elegant.
Males bring food for females in the incubation period and take a shift in incubation while females eat.
Incubation periods of Merlin last from 28 to 32 days.
Female feed nestlings after they hatch, while males provide the food. Females make small pieces for chicks to eat. After 29 days of hatching, baby Merlins start flying.
13. Prairie Falcon:
Prairie Falcon hunt prey by surprising due to its fast speed and flying low to the ground. They also take down birds by a fight and eat that bird.
Diet of Prairie Falcon consists of little birds and mammals. Their diet varies from season to season.
In summer, they use to eat squirrels, chipmunks, and gophers. In a breeding season, they like small birds like quails, doves, and songbirds.
Larks, pigeons, mallards are their regular diet in winter. They like to have abundant food in a single time. Sometimes they use to eat lizards and giant insects.
Nest site of Prairie Falcon is mostly on a cliff or recessed area. They also use other birds (hawks or ravens) old nest.
They do not build their nest, use only some dirt or scrape. Prairie Falcon rarely has nested on a tree or use nest on a tree.
Prairie Falcon lays white eggs along with brown patches on that. The incubation periods of Prairie Falcon is 31 days.
Females do incubation, and the male brings food for her, males rarely do incubation.
Male brings food and female feed it to nestling for four weeks. After that, females also start hunting, and chicks leave the nest after 5 to 6 weeks of hatching.
14. American Kestrel:
The Scientific name of American Kestrel is Falco sparverius. American Kestrels hunt their prey from the surface level and during flight.
American Kestrel usually lives near deserts and grasslands. They also perch in the open countryside.
Male and females can be judged due to their physical differences. It is illegal to own American Kestrel in California. They are instrumental in scientific studies and raised in birdhouses for experiments.
American Kestrel’s diet consists of small birds, mammals, insects, and reptiles. The most favorite prey of American Kestrel is grasshoppers.
Another victim they like is lizards, spiders, bats, caterpillars, dragonflies, beetles, crayfish, and moths, etc.
American Kestrel uses birdhouse to lay eggs. They usually make a nest in a dead tree, above the cliff, and in cactus.
American Kestrel lays 4 to 7 eggs in a clutch. Their eggs are pale brown along with grey spots. The incubation period of American Kestrel lasts from 28 to 31 days.
Female incubates and stays in a nest while males hunt and bring food to the nest. After two weeks of hatching, females also start bringing food.
Nestlings start flying in the after of 28 to 31 days. Parents feed nestlings before they start flying. After they begin having a stable flight, they are on their own.
15. Broad-Winged Hawks:
The scientific name of Broad-winged hawks is Buteo platypterus. Broad-winged Hawk hunt preys perching near the water and woodlands.
Broad-winged Hawk’s diet consists of small mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and giant insects.
In summer, Prey of Broad-winged Hawk includes chipmunk, voles, frogs, lizards, and squirrel.
Snakes, turtles, mice, fish, and earthworms are the prey of Broad-winged hawk in winter.
Both males and females build the nest. Their nest is placed in the lower area of the tree. Their nest is made up of twigs and covered with moss and soft material.
They also use old nests of different birds. They add little elements and green branches in the pre-existing nest.
Broad-winged Hawk lay 2 to 4 eggs in a clutch. Their eggs are white-colored along with brown spots on it.
The incubation period of Broad-winged Hawk lasts from 28 to 31 days. Male brings food for the Female and stays on eggs while female eats.
Females stay with nestlings and feed them while the male brings for both females and chicks for two weeks.
Young hawks start flying after 5 to 6 weeks of hatching and learn hunting.
16. California Condors – Influential California Hawks:
The scientific name of California Condor is Gymnogyps californianus. California Condor usually uses to eat dead animals, birds, and fishes. They do not spend their time in hunting.
They find the dead animal and eat them.
The most common diet of California Condor is dead deer, dead whales, dead donkey, dead lion, dead marine creature and goats, etc.
California Condors use to build their nest on a higher position.
They use cleft point in a more upper cliff, space in Dry Giant sequoia, and sometimes cave to build their nest. Their nest is usually made up of stone and gravels.
California Condors lay only a single egg in a clutch. Incubation periods last for 56 days and done by both sexes.
Each parent takes a shift of 1 week, and other parents bring food. After hatching, males and females bring food for their nestlings.
California Condors are very aggressive in securing their territory. They chase the predators and make them stay away from nest and nestlings.
Nestling makes its first flight after six months of hatching. They stay with their parents for another six months.
This whole procedure of nesting takes a year. Condors usually skip one breeding season after a breed.
California Hawks are almost the same in their habits. They all use to take care of their female during nesting and some also help in incubation. All California Hawks bring food for their females and nestlings.
California Hawks are mates for life and stay loyal. They feed their nestlings well and protect them from predators.
All California Hawks have almost the same diet include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Some of them like fishes also.
Don’t forget to mention which California Hawk you like the most. If you know another California Hawks then do mention. Waiting for your feedback.