Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Accipiter striatus

 

Taxonomy
Occurence in Illinois
Status
Habitat associations
Guilds
Food-habits
Environmental associations
Life history
Management practices
References


TAXONOMY

 

  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Falconiformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Genus: Accipiter
  • Species: Accipiter striatus
  • Authority: Vieillot

Comments on taxonomy:
Super family Accipitroides *23*.

 


OCCURENCE IN ILLINOIS

Species a "fairly common migrant and uncommon winter resident" with a bulk of the population occurring between late march-mid may and mid september to late october *11*.

 


STATUS

Items in bold indicate applicable categories
Forest Service Categories: S = recommended for regional sensitive status, F = forest listed species, M = management indicator species

Federal Status:

Endangered Threatened Proposed for listing
Candidate for proposal Recovery plan approved Recovery plan received (USFWS)
Recovery plan in preparation Under notice of review Delisted
Migratory EPA indicator Forest Serv.- Shawnee species

State Status:

Endangered Threatened Proposed

Other:

Game Furbearer Nongame protected
Sportfish Commercial Pest None of the above

Comments on status:
Species protected by the U.S. Mexico Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1972, the Illinois Wildlife Code of 1971 and the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 *15,27,28*. Also on blue list for species of with special concerns where it is stated that populations are "greatly down or absent as a breeder over much of eastern half of continent" *21,22*.

 


HABITAT ASSOCIATIONS

Items in bold indicate applicable categories
General habitat:

Unknown Terrestrial Aquatic Riparian

USFS timber inventory forest size class:

Unknown Unstocked Seedling Sapling
Seedling/sapling Pole Mature Over mature

Land use and land cover:

Unknown   Urban Residential
Commercial
Industrial
Transportation, communication
Complex industrial/commercial
Mixed
Other
Agricultural Crop, pasture
Orchards, groves, nurseries
Feedlot
Other
Rangeland Herbaceous
Shrub and brush
Mixed
Forestland Deciduous
Evergreen
Mixed
Water Stream
Lake
Reservoir
Bay
Wetland Forest
Non-forest
Barren Salt flat
Beach
Sand
Rock
Mine
Transit
Mix

 


Forest cover types:

Cover typeStructural stageCanopy closureSeason
White-red-jackpine Young tree
(1-9" dia.)
Unknown All
White-red-jackpine Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Unknown All
Oak-pine Young tree
(1-9" dia.)
Unknown All
Oak-pine Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Unknown All
Oak-hickory Young tree
(1-9" dia.)
Unknown All
Oak-hickory Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Unknown All
Oak-gum-cypress Young tree
(1-9" dia.)
Unknown All
Oak-gum-cypress Old growth
(trees 100 yrs. old)
Unknown All
Maple-beech-birch Young tree
(1-9" dia.)
Unknown All
Maple-beech-birch Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Unknown All

Associated tree species:

  • Basswood
  • Beech
  • Yellow birch
  • Wild black cherry
  • Bald cypress
  • Sweet gum
  • Water hickory
  • Red maple
  • Sugar maple
  • Cherrybark oak
  • Overcup oak
  • Red oak
  • Willow oak
  • Loblolly pine
  • Shortleaf pine
  • White pine
  • Yellow poplar (tulip tree)
SystemSubsystemClassSubclassWater regime modifiersWater chemistry
Palustrine   Forest   Unknown/unspecified Unknown/unspecified
Palustrine   Scrub/shrub   Unknown/unspecified Unknown/unspecified

Comments on species-habitat associations:
Prefers to nest in conifers *03*; seldom seen in heavily wooded areas; prefers open woodland, edges of woods, clearings, hedgerows, bushy pastures and shorelines where small birds are found *08*; at lower elevations, found more in conifers; at higher elevations, most frequently in deciduous trees *17*; usually found in mature stands of mixed or pure forests--nest located in densest part, hidden by foliage *17*; will normally select mature forests and stream habitats for nesting *17*; dense tree stands preferred *08,17,19,30*. Preferred tree height from 20-100 ft. tall *17*.

Important plant and animal association: No comments.

High value habitats: No records.

Species-habitat interrelations: No comments.


GUILDS

Feed-guilding:

HabitatStructural stageSeasonFeed-guilds
Forest land Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
All  

Comments on feed-guilding:
May prefer to hunt along hillsides or over ravines. May capture prey deep within foliage *17*.

Breed-guilding:

HabitatStructural stageSeasonBreed-Guilds
Mixed forest land Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Spring/summer Tree canopy, branches of broad-leaved deciduous trees
Tree canopy, branches of needle-leaved evergreen trees

Comments on breed-guilding:
Coniferous or coniferous-deciduous mix both mentioned as preferred habitat during nesting season *03,05*. Nest in trees with dense canopy, usually near clearing, water source and some form of flight path *17,19*.


FOOD-HABITS

Trophic level is CARNIVORE

Food itemLife stage/plant part
Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches) Unknown
Coleoptera (beetles) Unknown
Lepidoptera (butterfiles, moths) Unknown
Caudata (salamanders, newts, mudpuppies, sirens, hellbenders) Unknown
Salientia (frogs, toads) Unknown
Sauria (lizards, skinks, iguana) Unknown
Chiroptera (bats) Unknown
Leporidae (rabbits, hares) Unknown
Cricetidae (woodrats, mice, voles, lemmings, muskrat) Unknown
Birds Unknown
Phasianidae (pheasants, quail) Unknown
Columbidae (pigeons, doves) Unknown
Corvidae (jays, magpies, crows) Unknown
Important:
Birds Unknown
Juvenile:
Birds Unknown
Adult:
Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches) Unknown
Coleoptera (beetles) Unknown
Lepidoptera (butterfiles, moths) Unknown
Caudata (salamanders, newts, mudpuppies, sirens, hellbenders) Unknown
Salientia (frogs, toads) Unknown
Sauria (lizards, skinks, iguana) Unknown
Chiroptera (bats) Unknown
Leporidae (rabbits, hares) Unknown
Cricetidae (woodrats, mice, voles, lemmings, muskrat) Unknown
Birds Unknown
Phasianidae (pheasants, quail) Unknown
Columbidae (pigeons, doves) Unknown
Corvidae (jays, magpies, crows) Unknown

Comments on food habits: 
General: Small birds *08,10,16,17,20*; almost entirely small birds, occasionally small mammals, lizards or insects *20*; the larger female preys on larger birds than male; studies show 97% birds, 3% mammals (sexes combined) *16*; occasionally attacks birds larger than itself *20*; opportunistic hunter *17*. 
Juvenile: Young are fed by parents, chiefly on small birds *06*. Fed by female until the approach of fledging and become more aggressive *17*.
Adult: See [FH].


ENVIRONMENTAL ASSOCIATIONS

General:

  • Aquatic habitats: See comments
  • Leaf litter/ground debris/humus: See comments
  • Ecotones: Woodland/old fields
  • Ecotones: Woodland/grassland
  • Shrubs: See comments
  • Herbs-leguminous forbs: See comments
  • Coniferous forest: See comments
  • Hardwood forest: See comments
  • Human associations: Wildlife refuges/sanctuaries
  • Unknown

Limiting:

  • Aquatic habitats: See comments

Egg

  • Unknown

Feeding juvenile:

  • Aquatic habitats: See comments
  • Leaf litter/ground debris/humus: See comments
  • Ecotones: Woodland/old fields
  • Ecotones: Woodland/grassland
  • Shrubs: See comments
  • Herbs-leguminous forbs: See comments
  • Coniferous forest: See comments
  • Hardwood forest: See comments
  • Human associations: Wildlife refuges/sanctuaries

Resting juvenile:

  • Aquatic habitats: See comments
  • Ecotones: Woodland/old fields
  • Ecotones: Woodland/grassland
  • Coniferous forest: See comments
  • Hardwood forest: See comments
  • Human associations: Wildlife refuges/sanctuaries

Feeding adult:

  • Aquatic habitats: See comments
  • Leaf litter/ground debris/humus: See comments
  • Ecotones: Woodland/old fields
  • Ecotones: Woodland/grassland
  • Shrubs: See comments
  • Herbs-leguminous forbs: See comments
  • Coniferous forest: See comments
  • Hardwood forest: See comments
  • Human associations: Wildlife refuges/sanctuaries

Resting adult:

  • Aquatic habitats: See comments
  • Ecotones: Woodland/old fields
  • Ecotones: Woodland/grassland
  • Coniferous forest: See comments
  • Hardwood forest: See comments
  • Human associations: Wildlife refuges/sanctuaries

Breeding adult:

  • Aquatic habitats: See comments
  • Ecotones: Woodland/old fields
  • Ecotones: Woodland/grassland
  • Coniferous forest: See comments
  • Hardwood forest: See comments
  • Human associations: Wildlife refuges/sanctuaries

Comments on environmental associations:
General: Riparian habitats are critical *17*. Prefers habitats that are frequented by small birds *17*.
Feeding juvenile: No comments
Resting juvenile: No comments
Feeding adult: Forages on bare soil, among thick deciduous leaf litter, shrubs, herbacious ground cover, midstory and overstory canopy, riparian habitats & woodlands bordering vegetated openings. Fallen log or stump may be used as plucking and feeding site *17*.
Resting adult: No comments
Breeding adult: Riparian habitats are critical for nesting *17*. May nest in coniferous or deciduous trees, coniferous preferred in northern portion of range *17,20*. Nest built at edge of clearing or opening in woods *08,17*.

 


LIFE HISTORY

Origin: Native *09,11*

Physical description:

Reproduction: Incubation reported from 21-35 days by both sexes *08, 17,19,26,31,32*. 4-5 eggs *08*; most Accipiters begin breeding their second spring when 2 years old *17*; male provides all food for female during nesting period, incubation and brooding; male leaves area shortly after hatch and returns only to bring food *17*; in Virginia, various reports list that eggs arrive from early may to late june; young from mid to late may; and young fledge in mid july *12*. Offspring in nest defended from other bird intruders and man *06,08*. Nest height from 6 to 60 ft., ave. between 30-35 *08,17,31, 33,34*.

Behavior: Nesting territory defended not necessarily same area hunted--seems to be small area (100-200 meters diameter) with nest at center *17*; nest site always hidden in foliage--never as conspicuous as other Accipiters *17*; nest in dense stand of trees *17,20*; nest is large for size of bird, placed in tree crotch next to trunk *20*; travels southward at great distances making complete exodus from northern breeding grounds *17*; moving along with the small birds which provide large percentage of food *08*; breeding range: Canada and U.S. *08*; migrates south to Central and South America *08*; along eastern flyway, majority seen between 10 September and 20 October--2 peaks observed: one in mid-September consisting mostly of immatures and one in mid-October mostly of adults *17*; in WI there are 2 peaks in autumn migration. The 1st in mid-Sept. of immature birds. The 2nd in mid-Oct. of adult birds *35*. Peak of returning hawks seen third week of April at Hawk Mountains, PA. *17*.

Limiting factors:

Population parameters: Relative trend; numbers of migratory sharp- shinned hawks down between 1947 and 1971 *18*; on blue list since 1972 *21*; population greatly down or absent as breeder over much of eastern half of north america; stable or increased numbers reported from migration attributed by some to increased numbers of hawk watchers *22*; population affected by disease & parasites *24,25,26*.

 


MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

Beneficial:

  • Maintaining undisturbed/undeveloped areas
  • Maintaining habitat diversity
  • Maintaining unique or special habitat features (wetlands, snags, caves, cliffs, talises, etc.
  • Controlling land use and human activities
  • Seasonal restriction of human use of habitats
  • Developing/maintaining riparian habitat
  • Developing/maintaining streamside vegetation to prevent erosion and provide riparian habitat
  • Revegetating streambanks using grass-forb-sedge-tree mixtures
  • Selection method of silviculture
  • Developing/maintaining forest openings

Adverse:

  • Clean farming
  • Clearcutting forests
  • Shelterwood method of silviculture
  • Seed tree method of silviculture
  • Reforestation, site preparation- chemicals

Comments on management practices:
Adverse practices include industrial pollution, intensive agricultural practices *08*. Breeding sites should be identified *10,17* and protected from alterations or development, possibly through use of buffer zones *17*; indiscriminate shooting reduced through public education and enforcement of strict laws; alternative actions for farmer/rancher should be instituted, such as trapping and transporting offending bird *17*; protected by the Illinois Wildlife Code of 1971 and by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 *27,28*. Do not isolate nest sites by clearcutting or thinning *28*.


REFERENCES

0. GILES, R.H. 504 ROSE, BLACKSBURG, VA. 24060.

1. RASEBERRY, D.A. 101 B CHEATHAM HALL, VA. TECH, BLACKSBURG, VA. 24061.

2. FRASER, N. RT. 3. BOX 340 C, BLACKSBURG, VA. 24060.

3. HEINTZELMAN, D.S. 1979. HAWKS AND OWLS OF NORTH AMERICA. UNIVERSE BOOKS, NEW YORK.

4. IMHAF, T.A. 1976. ALABAMA BIRDS, 2ND ED. UNIV. ALABAMA PRESS. 5. UNPB. WILSON, J.D. MO. DEPT. OF CONSERV. P.O. BOX 180. JEFFERSON CITY, MO 65102 (314-751-4115).

6. WARREN, B.H. 1890. BIRDS OF PENNSYLVANIA. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENN. NUMBER OF PAGES: 434. SOURCE FROM: PAPER.

7. CALL, M.W. 1979. HABITAT MANAGEMENT GUIDES FOR BIRDS OF PREY. U.S. BUR. LAND MANAGE. TECH. NOTE. 338. 70 PP.

8. BENT, A.C. 1937. LIFE HISTORIES OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS OF PREY. PART 1. BULL. 167. U.S. NATL. MUS., WASHINGTON, D.C. NUMBER OF PAGES: 409. SOURCE FORM: PAPER.

9. ASSOC, CHECKLIST COMM. AM. BIRDING. 1975. AMERICAN BIRDING ASSOCIATION CHECKLIST: BIRDS OF CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND CANADA. NUMBER OF PAGES: 64. SOURCE FORM: PAPER.

10. WILLIAMS, B. 1979. SHARP-SHINNED HAWK. PAGES 428. PROC. SYMP. ON ENDANGERED AND THREATENED PLANTS AND ANIMALS OF BIRGINIA. LINZEY, D.W., ED. EXT. DIV., VIRGINIA POLYTECHIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIV., BLACKSBURG, VA.

11. BOHLEN, D.H. 1978. AN ANNOTATED CHECK-LIST OF THE BIRDS OF ILLINOIS. ILLINOIS STATE MUS. POP. SCI. SER., VOL. IX. 156 P.

12. UNPB. VEGETATIVE COMPONENTS. MO. DEPT. OF CONSERV. P.O. BOX 180. JEFFERSON CITY, MO. 65102.

13. MAYR, E. 1969. PRINCIPLES OF SYSTEMATIC ZOOLOGY. MCGRAW HILL, NEW YORK, N.Y.

14. LEGRAND, H.E., JR. AND P.B. HAMEL. 1980. BIRD-HABITAT ASSOCIATIONS OF SOUTHEASTERN FOREST LANDS. DEP. ZOOL., CLEMSON UNIV., CLEMSON S.C. NUMBER OF PAGES: 276. SOURCE FORM: PAPER.

15. SERVICE, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE. 1973. THREATENED WILDLIFE OF THE UNITED STATES. RESOURCE PUBLICATION 114. U.S. DEPT. INTER., WASHINGTON D.C. NUMBER OF PAGES: 289. SOURCE FORM: OTHER 3.

16. STORER, R.W. 1966. SEXUAL DIMORPHISM AND FOOD HABITS IN THREE NORTH AMERICAN ACCIPITERS. AUK 83:423-436.

17. JONES, S. 1979. THE ACCIPITERS: GOSHAWK, COOPER'S HAWK, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK. HABITAT MANAGEMENT. SERIES FOR UNIQUE OR ENDANGERED SPECIES. REP. NO. 17. U.S. DEP. INTER., BUR. LAND MANAGE., WASHINGTON, D.C.

18. EVANS, D.L. 1982. STATUS REPORTS ON TWELVE RAPTORS. SPEC. SCI. REP. WILDL. NO. 238. U.S. DEP. INTER., U.S. FISH AND WILDL. SERV., WASHINGTON, D.C. NUMBER OF PAGES: 68. SOURCE FORM: PAPER.

19. PLATT, J.B. 1976. SHARP-SHINNED HAWK NESTING AND NEST SITE SELECTION IN UTAH. CONDOR 78:102-103.

20. BROWN, L.H., AND D. AMADON. 1968. EAGLES, HAWKS AND FALCONS OF THE WORLD. VOL. 2. MCGRAW-HILL, NEW YORK.

21. TATE, J., JR. 1981. THE BLUE LIST FOR 1981: THE FIRST DECADE. AM. BIRDS 35:3-10.

22. TATE, J., JR., AND D.J. TATE. 1982. THE BLUE LIST FOR 1982. AM. BIRDS 36:126-135.

23. UNION, AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS', AND COMM. ON CLASSIF. AND NOMENCL., 1976. THIRTY-THIRD SUPPLEMENT TO THE AOU CHECK-LIST OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS. AUK 99: SUPPLEMENT.

24. HALLIWELL, W.H. 1978. RAPTORS (FALCONIFORMES AND STRIGIFORMES). PAGES 221-290. ZOO AND WILD ANIMAL MEDICINE. FOWLER, M.E., ED. W.B. SAUNDERS CO., PHILADELPHIA.

25. COOPER, J.E., AND A.G. GREENWOOD. 1980. RECENT ADVANCES IN THE STUDY OF RAPTOR DISEASES. PROCEEDINGS OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON DISEASES OF BIRDS OF PREY. CHIRON PUBLICATIONS, LTD., WEST YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND.

26. PETERS, H.S. 1936. A LIST OF EXTERNAL PARASITES FROM BIRDS OF THE EASTERN PART OF THE UNITED STATES. BIRD BANDING 7:9-27.

27. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION. 1980 CONSERVATION LAWS. CH. 61. WILDLIFE ART. II. PAR. 2.2. REPRINTED FROM ILLINOIS REVISED STATUTES, 1979. WEST PUBL. CO., ST. PAUL, MN.

28. U.S. FISH WILDLIFE SERVICE. 1983. CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS. TITLE 50. WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES. CHAPTER 1. PP. 11-18. 50 CFR 10.13. LIST

29. AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION. 1983. CHECK-LIST OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS, 6TH EDITION. ALLEN PRESS, INC. LAWRENCE, KN. 877 P.

30. PARRY, G., AND R. PUTNAM. 1979. BIRDS OF PREY. SIMON AND SCHUSTER. N.Y. 120 PP.

31. HARRISON, H.H. 1975. A FIELD GUIDE TO BIRDS' NESTS IN THE UNITED STATES EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. HOUGHTON MIFFLIN CO., BOSTON. 257 PP.

32. REYNOLDS, R.T., AND H.M. WRIGHT. 1978. DISTRIBUTION, DENSITY, AND PRODUCTIVITY OF ACCIPITER HAWKS BREEDING IN OREGON. WIL. BULL. 90: 182-196.

33. JOHNSON, R.F. 1964. THE BREEDING BIRDS OF KANSAS. UNIV. KS PUBLS. MUS. NAT. HIST. 12(14):575-655.

34. MUMRO, J.A. 1940. FOOD OF THE SHARP-SHINNED HAWK. CONDOR 42:168-169.

35. MUELLER, H.C., AND D.D. BERGER. 1970. PREY PREFERENCES IN THE SHARP- SHINNED HAWK. THE ROLES OF SEX, EXPERIENCE, AND MOTIVATION. AUK 87: 452-457.

 


 

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