Common Black Hawk

Common Black Hawk Picture

Common Black Hawk

A Common Black Hawk is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Common Black Hawks. We have also put together a list of fun Common Black Hawk t-shirts, Common Black Hawk bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird watching items.

About the Common Black Hawk

The Common Black Hawk is native of the mountain ranges in North America where its conservation is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is a coastal bird preferring warmer climatic areas.

Description and Identification

As per their name, Common Black Hawks are covered in dark gray or back plumage,
with broad wings and a short tail sporting a broad white band and white coloration on
its tip. Adults can often be confused for Zone-tailed Hawks due to their similar
appearances but can be distinguished by their larger size and fewer white strips on
their tails and tip. They also sport yellow-colored legs and feet along with a black bill
with yellow coloration on the bottom. Juveniles typically have dark brown plumage
along with a darker mustache and light and pale yellow coloration near the
eyebrows. The average adult measures between 17-21 inches in length and weigh
approximately 33 oz. As they are not sexually dimorphic it can be difficult to tell male
and female Common Black Hawks apart.

Common Black Hawk Color Pattern

Common Black Hawks have broad wings which are mainly black or a deeper shade of gray. Their tails have white bands and tips on their black feathers. Adults have similar appearances to zone-tailed hawks but are slightly larger than them. Juvenile black hawks are a shade of dark brown with streaks of white on their upperparts.

Common Black Hawk Size

Adult common black hawks measure the same in both sexes with the following length and weight:

  • Length 45 – 53 cm
  • Weight 930 g

Common Black Hawk Behavior

Their most common nesting site is among the mangrove forests usually building the nest fifteen feet to one hundred feet above the ground. They re-use their nests over the years building on them to make them bigger. During courtship, the common hawk is seen soaring into the sky with lazy flaps and performs a “Sky Dance” with its partner.

What Common Black Hawk Eat

Common Black Hawks diets primarily consist of carnivorous items typically found in
and around water. They prey on small frogs, tadpoles, fish, etc. along with insects
and invertebrates, and small birds. They are also known to feed on small lizards,
snakes, rodents such as rats, moles, and other small ground-dwelling animals. In the
tropical regions, their diets also consist of crayfish, crabs, prawns, and other large and small insects. They forage for food from low settling tree branches, observing
their prey silently; gliding down to catch the prey in a sudden, swift dive.

Common Black Hawks mostly feed on crabs, other bird eggs and small vertebrates.

Where Common Black Hawks Live

Common Black Hawks primarily prefer to inhabit coastal areas, but some
populations are known to inhabit inland regions as well. They are mainly located in
the proximity of water although some populations in the Mexican region reside in the
mountain ranges and migrate towards the coastal regions in the winters. They tend
to inhabit mangroves, swamps, woodland streams, and permeant water flows.
In the tropics, they can be found in mountain rivers and lowland rain forests.

It is frequent in warmer parts of North and South America. It is a resident of mangrove swamps along the coast and occasionally occupies dry open woodlands. There is a population of common black hawks inland that migrates from north-western Mexico and Arizona.

Range and Migration

Common Black Hawks are native to Northern, Central, and Southern America. They
range from the Southern United States, along the Atlantic coast through the Sierra
Madre Occidental mountain ranges; their range continues along the Pacific and the
Atlantic coasts of Mexico and Central America. The majority of the populations are
sedentary, although the populations residing along the Sierra Madre Occidental
mountain ranges migrate to warmer climates during the winter months. This species
of hawks are summer visitors to the United States, arriving in the month of March
and returning towards their native habitat in the months of September and October.
Common Black Hawks are categorized under the ‘least concern’ in terms of their
conservation status.

Common Black Hawk Lifecycle

Once a nesting area is set, construction continues as the male gathers the materials and the female begins construction. The male protects the female during the breeding season but it is not clear if pairs stay together for the breeding season only or they are monogamous. The female lays 1 to 3 eggs but mostly 1 egg during the breeding season.

Common Black Hawk Nesting

During the nesting season, the males and females fly together, soaring and diving in
a show of courtship. The males gather materials for the building of the nest and the
females assemble these materials, adding to their nests gradually. In North
American nesting sites, nests are typically built on sycamore and cottonwood trees
along or near streams of water. Nests are usually bulky, built with leaves, sticks, and
twigs frequently settled 60-90 feet above the ground. Females typically lay between 1-3
eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents, although females incubate for longer
periods of time as compared to the males. During the incubation period, the males
forage for food and bring it to the female. Hatchlings leave the nest approximately 6-
7 weeks after hatching.


Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes

At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.

  • Kids Bird Watching Monthly Subscription

    $20.00 / month
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  • Kid & Adult Bird Watching Starter Pack Subscription

    $20.00 / month and a $72.00 sign-up fee
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  • Kids Bird Watching Starter Pack Subscription

    $20.00 / month and a $19.00 sign-up fee
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Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Common Black Hawks

The most common types of bird watching binoculars for viewing Common Black Hawks are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.

  • Birding Binoculars

    Birding Binoculars

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  • Kids Binocular 8x21

    Kids Binoculars

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Common Black Hawk T-shirts

If you love the Common Black Hawk you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.

Common Black Hawk Iron On Patches

Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.

The Common Black Hawk is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.

  • Common Black Hawk iron on patches

    Common Black Hawk Iron on Patches

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  • Bird Banner with iron on patches

    Bird Banner

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Common Black Hawk Stickers

Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Common Black Hawk. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.

Bird Feeders For Common Black Hawk

There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.

Best Bird Houses for Common Black Hawk

There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.

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