The Gray Hawk (Buteo plagiatus) is a medium-sized bird of prey found in Central and South America. It measures about 16 to 20 inches in length, with a wingspan of approximately 39 inches. This species has a relatively short tail, which distinguishes it from other Buteo hawks. The adults have a dark gray head and back, while the underparts are light gray with fine dark barring. The wings are dark gray on top and lighter below, and they show a characteristic white band on the tail.
Gray Hawks are resident birds in some parts of their range, but they are also migratory in other areas. In the United States, they breed in southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas and migrate south during the winter months. They are also found in Mexico and throughout Central America, where they are common residents. In South America, they are found in the Andes and in forested areas from Colombia to northern Argentina.
Gray Hawks are typically found in forested areas, especially along rivers and streams. They feed on a variety of prey, including lizards, small mammals, birds, and insects. They hunt by soaring over the forest canopy or perching on a high vantage point and scanning the area for prey.
One of the most distinctive features of Gray Hawks is their vocalization. They have a loud, distinctive, three-note whistle that is often heard in their forested habitats. They also have a shrill, high-pitched scream that is used during territorial displays.
In recent years, the Gray Hawk has experienced population declines in some areas due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Conservation efforts are underway to protect their forested habitats and ensure the survival of this beautiful bird of prey.