Harris’s Hawk

Harris's Hawk
Harris’s Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)

Folks here in Tucson are fortunate to have a beautiful bird like the Harris’s Hawk living and breeding right here in our city. Tucson is located in the northern limits of this hawks range. Its range extends from the southern portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, into Mexico and South America.

The eye-catching markings of this bird make it one of the easier ones to identify. This dark bodied bird exhibits rust-colored markings on its shoulders (leading edge of wings) and thighs. It has a prominent white band at the base of its tail in addition to a narrow band at the tip of its tail.

Most Harris’s Hawks live within a social structure consisting of several hawks and exhibit cooperative hunting methods. Functioning as a team in their pursuit of prey is a unique trait among raptors. These birds feed on rabbits, small mammals, birds, and reptiles including rattlesnakes.

I captured this photo at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, during the museum’s Raptor Free Flight demonstration. During this seasonal demonstration, birds native to the Sonoran Desert (hawks, owls, ravens) are flying without restraint in their native desert habitat. It is to keep from taking take evasive action when a bird flies across the desert toward you and then clears your head by just a few inches.

Exposure: 1/1600 sec @ f/6.3

Lens: 24-85mm zoom lens at 85mm 😉