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Hawks In Georgia: Top 6 Native Species (w/ Pictures)

hawks in georgia - featured image

The true beauty of hawks can be seen when a flock of Georgia Hawks is migrating from one place to another. 


A bird enthusiast would most likely agree with me on this.

Whether you believe it or not, hawk-watching is considered to be a recreational activity and people belonging to all age groups enjoy it equally.

Georgia Hawks can be categorized as migrating birds as the Georgia state falls on their migratory route. 

On a side note, can we call religious Georgia hawks “Georgia birds of prey”? (apologies in advance!) 🙂

What Hawks Live In Georgia?

1. Red-Tailed Hawk

red-tailed hawk

It is one of the most common Georgia Hawks, and you must be familiar with their thrilling scream-distinct from the Georgia Hawk sounds. 

Most Hollywood movies show them in a scenic background, and if not, their voice is played for an added dramatic effect.

The color of their body is a varying mixture of white, black, or deep brown coverage. Red-tailed hawks in Georgia always have an identical red tail which makes it easy to identify them. 

Their habitat mainly consists of large and open areas as it allows them to spot their prey. You can easily find them in a heightened space in the countryside, roadside, forest, or even your backyard (be aware!)

2. Red-Shouldered Hawk


This Georgia hawk calls the state a permanent home. They are characterized by their aerial drive and Georgia hawk sounds of whistles. 

The sound is both used to call the mates as well as warn the enemies.

Their red shoulders can be vividly seen when they fly and spread their wings wide. Their belly is also red, while the wings are covered in dark brown and white patterns. You can spot its strongly banded tail from afar. 

They’re indeed a big fan of tall trees such as Tulip Poplar and water. Suburban areas also accommodate them due to a partially wooded environment. 

3. Broad-Winged Hawk

broad-winged hawk

Hawks of Georgia mostly migrate a lot, but this species especially likes to breed in the state. Also known as "Kettles," they’re surprisingly territorial and solitary raptors. 

Tapered, pointed and of course, broad wings with a stocky body are key characteristics of Broad-winged Hawks in Georgia. 

Adult Hawks in GA have horizontal barring on the chest, unlike the young hawks who have a rather longitudinal barring.

There’s a slight color difference too, with the adult more on the brown side and the young one on the whiter side.

Wooded lands are where they like to dwell for nesting purposes where they sit on the low branches searching discreetly for the prey. 

4. Cooper’s Hawk


Unlike other Georgia hawks that look very similar, Cooper's hawk and Sharp-shinned hawk resemble a lot. You could almost believe that Cooper's hawk is just an older sibling of its Sharp-shinned counterpart. 

Their flying speed is unbelievable, almost beating the speed of the light (Disclaimer: I'm exaggerating a little here). 😉

It has a Grey colored back and a matching tail with a soft brown front and white bellies.

They have a unique alerting sound they use to send alarms to their mates or offspring against the intruders.

5. Sharp-Shinned Hawk


This smallest Georgia hawk species is one of a kind with its ability to catch its prey within nanoseconds, owing to its acrobatic flying technique. You cannot recognize it when it’s in the air as it appears in a blur of a motion.

They have long legs but short wings, accompanied by long tails that assist them in returning home. Pictures of hawks in Georgia will give you a better comparative idea between different hawks of Georgia.

Hawks that live in Georgia generally have a breeding range in the state, though this Georgia hawk likes to breed in far Northern areas. 

If you keep feeders in your backyard, the sharp-shinned hawk would be a keen visitor. This is where it catches all the songbirds for their quick meals.

The size of prey depends upon the gender of the hawk. For example, male sharp-shinned hawks bring smaller prey than their female partners, though it is known to feed the young ones by removing the head for their ease. 

How considerate!

6. Northern Harrier


As weird as it sounds, this Georgia hawk does not look like a hawk. It closely resembles an owl if you observe its face from the front.

A slim body paired with long wings and white patch detailing on the tip of the tails are some of its key features. 

They use both their hearing as well as their vision to capture the target. No prey could ever escape their sight. 

Read Also: Owls in Georgia

FAQs About The Hawks Of Georgia

hawks in georgia - featured image

What Do Hawks Eat In Georgia?

The Red-Tailed Hawk likes to feed on small animals such as rodents and small mammals. They often hunt in pairs to prevent losing their prey. Teamwork at its best! Red-shouldered hawks in Georgia prefer to devour small mammals, reptiles, fellow birds, mice, and even snakes.

Broad-Winged Hawk includes small mammals, frogs, lizards, and tiny birds as part of their feast. They de-skin the prey and remove the feathers for quick consumption.

The Cooper's hawk in Georgia is a carnivorous bird that indulges in different types of food as per the season. For example, crawling insects, small mammals, and nesting birds during the summer season while frogs, crabs, and other small mammals during the winters.

Sharp-shinned Hawk eats everything, but they love the songbirds in particular! As for the Northern Harrier, it takes rounds of meadows and marshes to search for small mammals, reptiles, and birds.

Are Hawks Protected In Georgia?

As per the Animal Legal and Historical Center, Georgia’s endangered species laws make it binding upon the residents and tourists in the state to abide by the laws to prevent harming these species. 

There’s a proper setup of birdwatching in Georgia in the Appalachian Mountains, where the hikers watch the migrating flock of Hawks. The organizing members conserve the habitat (woods in particular), ensuring the hawks return to their destination for nesting.

What Hawks Live In Georgia?

All of the Hawks mentioned in this article reside in Georgia except for the Northern Harrier. The Northern Harrier hawk is not seen year-round in Georgia as it’s native to North America and migrates to Georgia in winter for its breeding needs. Although they can be seen in all the regions, the Southeast is their least favorite region in all of Georgia.

What Is The Largest Hawk In Georgia?

Belonging to the Accipitridae Family, the Red-Tailed Hawk is by far the largest hawk in Georgia. It is said that its size is relative to a 6-ft man, with a body ranging from 18 to 26 inches and a wingspan of about 38 to 43 inches. Even though it’s one of the largest Georgia hawk species, the max weight recorded is about 3 pounds in females. 

Now let's hear a red-tailed hawk letting out a scream in this short clip below:

Summing It All Up

When it comes to Georgia Hawks identification, it appears that Hawks native to Georgia are in a minority because the state is a temporary destination for most of them. 

These birds are amazing animals though, as we saw in Stuart Little - they are not only vigilant but quite organized too with how they prepare the prey before consuming it.  

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