Harris Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)




Size: Length 48-56cm(19-22ins) Wingspan 135-165cm(53-65ins)
Status: Widespread.
Habitat: Dry,bush country.Lowland desert areas. (America).
Reproduction: 2-4eggs.March-June.28 day incubation.
Diet: Rabbits,rats and a variety of birds.


Raptor facts

Raptors are normally aggressive solitary hunters except for the
Gregarious Harris Hawk. Hunting in a well formed social group ensures the capture of more prey.
In years of an abundance of food, they rear more than one clutch, with the first youngsters helping to rear the second clutch.
They are nicknamed the wolf of the sky because of their pack hunting instincts.

The oldest recorded life span of a wild Harris Hawk is 12 years and 7 months. However over 25 years has been recorded in captivity.

The Harris Hawk is now widely regarded as the ideal beginners bird in falconry. This does not mean they are good “pets”. Training and experience is still needed. They can still be aggressive but if trained well can be very rewarding and will fly with other Harris’. The perfect all rounder!

Harris Hawks are known as the wolf of the sky due to their pack hunting technique. They are one of the most successful birds of prey in their hunting because of this. Groups of 5-6 birds are normal but up to 14 have been counted! For a Jack Rabbit that’s scary!

Harris Hawks have an arch enemy in the wild. It is the fearsome Great Horned Owl. The owl loves to ambush them at night but if the hawks spot them in the day there’s big trouble. Gang warfare breaks out as the group will attack the owl. They will even attack a stuffed owl! Thought they were supposed to be clever?

The Harris Hawk is also known as the Bay Winged Hawk. This is due to the bay or brownish colour on their wings. Can you see them on the birds here?

The Harris Hawk is the most popular bird used in falconry. Because they are sociable you can fly more than one at the same time in most environments. But they are NOT good pets. Training is most important before you own any bird of prey. Why not attend one of our courses if you want to learn falconry?

Harris Hawks spend much of their time landing and sitting on cactus plants looking for food. They must have tough skin because much of their time is spent pulling out hundreds of cactus needles that get stuck in their feet. Ouch!

The Harris Hawk is named after Mr. Edward Harris. Mr. Harris was a companion of one of Americas most famous artists and naturalists- John James Audubon. The paintings of Mr. Audubon are famous all over the world.

Many Harris Hawks are now kept in captivity in Britain and unfortunately many are lost never to be seen again . However many do survive and there have even been reports that some have bred. This would not be good for our own environment as we have our own birds of prey that need to eat! Could we one day see the “wolf of the sky” patrolling our own countryside?