The Common Black Hawk is often confused for its cousin, the Zone-tailed Hawk. While they are the same color and nest in the same places, the Black Hawk and Zone-tail are different in shape, sound, and food selection.
The Common Black Hawk is a medium sized hawk (20-23 inches long). It is totally black and grey except for a broad white band near the base of the tail and a thin white stripe at the tip of the tail. Their wings are short and broad, common of a buteo.
The Black Hawk lives near wooded waterways. Nests are build in trees, 50-100 feet in the air. They are built by the male and constructed of sticks. Near the completion of the nest green sticks are used to line the nest. Nests are not large; they have been reported from 15 inches to 2 feet in diameter and 8 inches to 2 feet high. Eggs are laid in 2-3 day intervals in a clutch of 2-4 eggs. The eggs are white marked brown. Markings vary from heavily blotched to unmarked.
The eggs are incubated by both parents for 37-39 days. Once the eggs begin to hatch, the female takes over incubation while the male gathers food. The nestlings fly in 43-50 days, and leave the nest area altogether in 1 1/2 to 2 months.
The Common Black Hawk is found sparingly north of the American-Mexican border, and only in the southwest. Found throughout Mexico and Central America, also found in Cuba.
The Black Hawk is not selective of its prey. It eats any vertibrate or invertibrate that is vulnerable or weakened; only poisonous animals do not attract the attention of the Black Hawk.
The Common Black Hawk is not afforded any special status in the United States.