Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Harris's Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)


French: Buse de Harris German: Wüstenbussard Spanish: Busardo mixto
Other common names: Bay-winged Hawk

Falco unicinctus


, 1824,

Boa Vista, western Minas Gerais, Brazil


Races distinctive, differing in size, relative tail length and plumage, and in distinctness of juvenile (nominate juvenile very different from adult; harrisi juvenile much closer to adult)#R. Population of SW USA and NW Mexico described as separate race, superior, but not generally accepted. Two subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. u. harrisi (Audubon, 1837) – Harris's Hawk – SW USA (S California to Texas) through Mexico and Central America (at least Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica) to W Colombia (Cauca Valley) and drier Pacific slope regions of Ecuador and Peru.
  • P. u. unicinctus (Temminck, 1824) – Bay-winged Hawk – N Colombia and N Venezuela, E Bolivia and E & S Brazil (S from Maranhão and Ceará) to Paraguay, Argentina (S to Chubut) and Chile (mainly from Coquimbo S to N Aisén).
  • Descriptive notes

    45–59 cm; male 550–877 g, female 825–1200 g; wingspan 92–121 cm. Blackish to deep sooty brown overall, with shoulders, thighs and underwing-coverts... read more


    Typical call is a hoarse, raspy caracara-like scream “krraaahhh”. Also gives a series of higher-... read more


    Seasonally dry desert, Chaco and savanna, sometimes in swampy areas, often near large waterbodies... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly mammals, including large prey, e.g. rabbits and, to lesser extent, larger black-tailed jackrabbits (Lepus californicus);... read more


    Co-operative breeding in some populations of SW USA, but not recorded elsewhere; in S Texas, 56% of 73 occupied breeding territories... read more


    Somewhat unclear. In general sedentary, but may be nomadic at limits of range; Texas population... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Common to locally common in many parts of extensive range; no well-supported estimates of global population size, but total... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Boesman, P. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Harris's Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 December 2019).