Micke Grove Zoo

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Swainson's Hawk
Buteo swainsonii

  • Habitat: Near seacoasts, rivers, large lakes, oceans, and other large bodies of open water with an abundance of fish
  • Range: Most of North America, including most of Canada, all of the continental United States and northern Mexico
  • Natural Diet: Small mammals and grasshoppers/locusts.
  • Status In The Wild: Least Concern(Common)


Fun Facts

  • Swainson’s hawks are raptors that migrate long distances. They make an approximately 6,000 mile journey from the temperate zone of North America to their wintering grounds in South America

  • The hawk was named after William Swainson, a British Ornithologist

  • Although, they hunt rodents, they also voraciously feed on insects and are commonly called the grasshopper hawk or locust hawk

  • They are monogamous and form mated pairs for long durations of time.

  • They practice biparental care with females brooding eggs and feeding chicks while the male hunts and brings food for his family


Conservation Threats

The major threats are:

  • Loss of habitat due to urbanization has had a detrimental effect on their free-ranging population numbers

  • Collision with traffic and electric wires are considered other forms of threat

  • Their population numbers have also declined due to illegal hunting practices



Micke Grove Zoo houses a female Swainson's hawk




Distributional range