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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Gray Hawk -- Buteo nitidus


RANGE: Breeds in southern Arizona and southern Texas (the northwestern extreme of its breeding range) south to South America. Northernmost populations usually migrate south in nonbreeding season.

STATUS: Rare.

HABITAT: Is found primarily in riparian willow, cottonwood, and sycamore groves in the San Pedro and Santa Cruz river drainages of Arizona. Inhabits mature woodlands of river valleys and nearby semiarid mesquite and scrub grasslands.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Stands of cottonwood and willow near rivers for nesting.

NEST: The small nest is placed from 20 to 40 feet up in cottonwood, hackberry, or mesquite along streams or rivers.

FOOD: Prefers to feed on lizards and small snakes, and frequently eats beetles and large grasshoppers. Also catches and eats rabbits, squirrels, mice, quail, young doves, and fishes.

REFERENCES: Heintzelman 1979, Oberholser 1974a, Terres 1980, Terrill in Farrand 1983a.


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