The small Sharp-Shinned Hawk is a common sight at bird feeders, preying on songbirds. This accipiter is at home in the woods and is very skilled at taking birds in flight. It uses the element of surprise to capture its prey. 70% of the prey it captures are birds; the rest is mainly made up of insects and small mammals. It is a small hawk, 10-14 inches long and has a wingspan of 20-27 inches. The adults are grey blue on the back, tail, and wings. The blue-grey is darker on the cap and primaries. The tail is barred dark blue-gray and white, with a narrow strip of white at the end of the tail. The undersides are white, heavily barred with rusty brown. The eyes are red with a white stripe over them. The beak is yellow tipped blue; the cheeks and chin are white. Immatures are brown spotted white with white barred brown undersides.
The Sharp-shinned Hawk is at home in dense forest, usually mixed. Its broad, rounded wings and long square tail are ideal for navigation in "close quarters". Nests are built in conifers 10-60 feet above the ground, and are made out of sticks. 3-8 eggs are laid, white with brown blotches. They are incubated by 3 weeks by the female. About 23 days after hatching the young leave the nest.
Found throughout the forests of North America, Central America, Argentina and Brazil. They migrate every winter to Central America, although some stay during the winter and pick off songbirds at bird feeders. They are common and have no conservation status in the United States.