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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 12:43 EDT

Grey Hawk

The Grey Hawk, (Buteo nitidus), also known as the Grey-lined Hawk, is a species of bird of prey of the Accipitridae family of eagles, hawks and Old World vultures. It is sometimes placed in the genus Asturina as Asturina nitida.

It is found in open country and forest edges in the southwestern United States and Mexico south to Bolivia, Brazil and central Argentina. It is also fairly common on Trinidad, and it has been observed recently on Tobago.

The Grey Hawk is 18 to 24 inches in length and weighs slightly more than a pound on average. The adult has a pale gray body, the tail is black with three white bands and the legs are orange. Grey Hawks found in Pacific Costa Rica, Brazil and Argentina have fine white barring on the upperparts; those found in the northern regions are darker overall and uniformly grey above.

Immature birds have dark brown upperparts, a pale-banded brown tail, brown-spotted white underparts and a brown streaked yellowish head and neck. It is a short-winged species and is fast and agile in flight. Its call is a shrill whistled kleee-ooo.

The Grey Hawk feeds mainly on lizards and snakes, but will occasionally take small mammals, birds and frogs. It usually sits on an open high perch from which it swoops down on its prey. It will also sometimes hunt from a low glide. Its nest is built high in a tree. The female lays one to three white to pale blue eggs. The young fledge the nest after six weeks.

Grey Hawk