Sharp-shinned Hawk
(Accipiter striatus)

The Sharp-shinned Hawk is a small Accipiter (about the same size as an American Robin) that breeds in North America and Winters from North America and South into Central America.

Photo is juvenile male, click for larger photo.

Sharp-shinned hawk

Male and Female Measurements

As noted in the Accipiters page, Sharp-shinned hawks are reverse size dimorphic, meaning that the females are larger than the males.

Males: 9-11 inches (24-27 cm)
Females: 11-13 inches (29-34 cm)

Males 20-22 inches (53-56 cm)
Females: 23-26 inches (58-65 cm)

Males: 87-114 grams (3-4 oz)
Females: 150-208 grams (5-8 oz)

(above data from A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors, Wheeler & Clark 1995).  We highly recommend this book for anyone interested in raptors.
Wheeler & Clark data are presumed to be primarily from Eastern birds (Cape May, NJ migration monitoring).

We have some experience with both Eastern and Western Sharp-shinned Hawks (SSHA) . We have found that Western birds average slightly larger than Eastern birds.  (This is opposite of what we found for Cooper's Hawks, where Eastern birds are larger).

Eastern SSHA Wing Chord (un-flattened)*
   Males: mean 166.7 mm (155-178)
Females: mean 199.0 mm (186-210)

Eastern SSHA Weight (No Food in Crop)**
   Males: mean 102.4 g (70-135)
Females: mean 171.9 g (144-200)

Eastern SSHA Weight (Food in Crop)
   Males: mean 104.0 g (97-114)
Females: mean 175.3 g (158-190)

Western SSHA Wing Chord (un-flattened)
   Males: mean 171.9 mm (160-184)
Females: mean 204.2 mm (192-215)

Western SSHA Weight (No Food in Crop)
   Males: mean 99.5 g (80-123)
Females: mean 170.0 g (140-212)

Western SSHA Weight (Food in Crop)
   Males: mean 106.4 g (92-128)
Females: mean 178.0 g (155-216)

*Wing Chord is measured from from the wrist to the tip of the longest primary feather. The primary feathers have a natural camber (bend), and can be measured flattened or un-flattened.

**Raptors store food in a crop (pouch in the throat area).  Food in the crop or stomach can effect the birds weight.  We can not know if there is food in the stomach, but we can estimate the amount of food in the crop.  We score the crop on a 0= no food in the crop to a 3 = full crop.  A full crop in a Sharp-shinned hawk could weigh as much as 30 grams.  Keep in mind, we are not likely to capture Sharp-shinned hawks that are not hungry, so only a few birds have crops and very few birds have large crops.

Sharp-shinned Hawk Diet

Sharp-shinned Hawks prey almost exclusively on small - medium birds. They have very long toes with long spicules, which have evolved to help them hold onto the feathers of their prey.

The largest prey item that I personally have seen taken is an American Robin (avg 77-81 g) by an adult male sharpie.

Longevity Record

19 Years and 11 months; based upon known age of a wild sharpie at banding and subsequent band recovery (Data from Bird Banding Lab (Klimkiewicz 2008).

Sharp-shinned Hawk References

Raptor Migration

Birds of Prey


Cooper's Hawk page



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