Gray hawk

COMMON NAME: Gray hawk

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Asturina nitida

The gray hawk is a small buteo, 15 inches in length with a 25-inch wingspan. It has broad, rounded wings, a hooked beak, a short, broad tail, and a yellow cere and legs. The adult has gray upperparts barred gray and white, a dark tail with two white bands, white uppertail coverts, and pale underwings. Immature gray hawks have dark brown, heavily streaked upperparts, white supercilium contrasting with dark eye-line, a dark malar streak, and a brown tail with numerous darker bands.

Extreme southern United States, Mexico, Central and northern South America

Forest, open woodland, savannah with clumps of trees. Wide diversity from wet forest fringes to extensive dry wooded areas, preferably near water.


The Gray Hawk builds a small nest with twigs and lines it with green leaves. The nest is typically well hidden in a fork or side branch of a tall evergreen—but nest sites vary from mesquite to cottonwood. The gray hawk incubates a clutch size of one to three eggs for 32 days, and the young fledge 30 to 42 days later.

The gray hawk’s diet is mostly lizards, some small snakes, large insects, frogs, birds, and small mammals.

The gray hawk is not afforded any special conservation status.