Sharp-shinned Hawk

photo by Phil Swanson

Accipiter striatus
L 10-14″ (25-36 cm) W 20-28″(51-71 cm).

Song or calls:
A high “ke-ke-ke-ke.” Often heard near nest.

Description: Sexes similar. Slate blue above, white with rust-colored cross-barring below. Told from similar Cooper’s Hawk by a square rather than rounded tail. Tail is often notched. Crown and back are not strongly contrasting. Immatures are brown above, white with brown streaking below. Females are larger.

sharp shinned hawk
Habitat: Found in areas of fairly dense forest. Prefers woods with a mix of coniferous trees.

Where in Nebraska: Uncommon to occasional winter visitor and spring migrant across the state. Thought to nest in the forests along the Missouri River valley.

Field Notes: Often familiar to backyard birders, as Sharp-shins will make meals of small birds visiting feeders.

Fun Facts: Sharp-shinned Hawks parents will fling and kick out prey to whichever of their young reached them first while in flight.

juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk - photo by Phil Swanson juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)