Photo by Simon Kiacz

Gray Hawk (Buteo plagiatus)

Fun Fact

May be expanding its range in some regions

Conservation Status

IUCN Least Concern


Adults have a pale grey body, the tail is black with three white bands and the legs are orange. Solid, unpatterned gray on the upper parts. Immature birds have brown upperparts, a pale-banded brown tail, brown-spotted white underparts and a brown streaked buff head and neck.

Buteo plagiatus Belize by The Lilac Breasted Roller. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Buteo plagiatus Belize by The Lilac Breasted Roller. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons


46–61 cm (18–24 in)


81-97 cm (32-38 in)


475 g (16.8 oz)


Found from Costa Rica north into the southwestern United States. In the United States, resident from southern Arizona and western and southern Texas into Mexico; casual in southern New Mexico and accidental in Kansas and Utah.


Occurs in lowlands in broken forest, forest edges, and savannas and pastures with trees more than in continuous forest.


Grey Hawks feed mainly on lizards and snakes, but will also take small mammals, birds and frogs.


It usually sits on an open high perch from which it swoops on its prey, but will also hunt from a low glide. May perch on power poles, or on an exposed tree in more open country.


The nest is a platform of sticks lined with fresh green leaves and placed in the crotch of an evergreen tree, or, less often, in a dead tree. Clutch size is 1-4 (usually 2) eggs, which are white or bluish-white, rarely with a few reddish-brown markings. The nestling period is about 42 days

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InfoNatura: Animals and Ecosystems of Latin America [web application]. 2007. Version 5.0 . Arlington, Virginia (USA): NatureServe. Available: (Accessed: October 24, 2012 ).

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