U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service



Scott E. Hygnstrom, Extension Wildlife Damage Specialist, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68583
Scott R. Craven, Extension Wildlife Specialist, Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Document Type Article


Hawks and owls are birds of prey and are frequently referred to as raptors— a term that includes the falcons, eagles, vultures, kites, ospreys, northern harriers, and crested caracaras. There are two main groups of hawks: accipiters and buteos. Accipiters are the forest-dwelling hawks. North American species include the northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii), and sharpshinned hawk (Accipiter striatus). The buteos are known as the broadwinged or soaring hawks. They are the most commonly observed raptors in North America. Typical species include the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), broad-winged hawk (Buteo platypterus), Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni), rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus), and ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis).