Swainson's Hawk

About the Swainson's Hawk

Also known as: Grasshopper Hawk, Locust Hawk, Brown Hawk, Sharp-winged Hawk, Swainson's Buzzard

The Swainson's Hawk is a large species of hawk that is found across western parts of North America during breeding season. This migratory hawk heads down to Argentina and other spots in South America to spend the winter.

Swainson's Hawks feed on small mammals as well as reptiles and small birds. During the winter they feed on insects including grasshoppers, locusts and beetles. This taste for insects earned them the alternative name Grasshopper Hawk. Their winter feeding habits make them especially vulnerable to pesticide use.

Swainson's Hawks may be dark or light, with a rufous variation of the dark morph. Light morph birds are more common than dark morphs.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 05 August 2012
Scientific Name
Buteo swainsoni
  • Accipitriformes
  • Accipitridae
  • Buteo
  • B. swainsoni
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Least Concern (as of 7 April 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
19 to 22 inches
24 to 48 ounces


International Names

Brazilian (Português brasileiro) Gavião-papa-gafanhoto
Chinese (汉语) 斯氏鵟
Czech (Cesky) káně bělohrdlá
Danish (Dansk) Prærievåge
Dutch (Nederlands) Prairiebuizerd
Finnish (Suomi) preeriahiirihaukka
French (Français) Buse de Swainson
German (Deutsch) Präriebussard
Italian (Italiano) Poiana di Swainson
Japanese (日本語) アレチノスリ [arechinosuri]
Norwegian (Norsk) Prærievåk
Polish (Polski) myszolów preriowy
Russian (русский язык) Свенсонов канюк
Spanish (Español) Busardo Chapulinero
Swedish (Svenska) Prärievråk
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