The Most Beautiful Hawk, Ranked

Choose the hawk you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 19, 2024 06:19
Judging the aesthetic appeal of hawks can be quite subjective, influenced by various factors from the colors of their plumage to the grace of their flight. Establishing a consensus helps bird enthusiasts and researchers alike focus on what makes these creatures standout. This method of ranking invites contributions from a broad audience, thus refining the criteria and appreciation for beauty in hawks. By participating in this ranking, you assist in creating a dynamic list that reflects a collective opinion more accurately than a single expert could achieve. Your votes make a significant impact, offering real-time insights that guide new enthusiasts and seasoned ornithologists in their understanding of these majestic birds. This continuous input ensures that the list remains fresh and relevant, encouraging engagement and ongoing discussion within the community.

What Is the Most Beautiful Hawk?

  1. 1
    Harpy Eagle · CC BY 3.0
    With its striking appearance, the Harpy Eagle is considered one of the most beautiful hawks in the world. Its distinctive crest and piercing gaze make it an impressive sight.
    The Harpy Eagle is a majestic and powerful bird of prey found in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. It is often considered as one of the most beautiful and largest eagles on the planet.
    • Size: Up to 3.5 feet (1 meter) tall
    • Wingspan: Up to 7 feet (2.1 meters)
    • Weight: 10 to 20 pounds (4.5 to 9 kilograms)
    • Appearance: Distinctive grey upperparts, black chest and belly, white underside, bold crest of black feathers
    • Beak: Massive, hooked, and yellowish in color
    Harpy Eagle in other rankings
  2. 2
    With its colorful markings and ability to soar high in the sky, the Red-tailed Hawk is a magnificent creature. It is also one of the most common hawks in North America.
    The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a majestic bird of prey that belongs to the family Accipitridae. It is known for its stunning appearance and remarkable hunting capabilities. This bird is native to North America and is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful raptors.
    • Average Wingspan: 48-56 inches (122-142 cm)
    • Average Length: 18-26 inches (46-66 cm)
    • Average Weight: 2-4 pounds (0.9-1.8 kg)
    • Plumage: Brown, with a distinctive red tail
    • Habitat: Varied habitats, including forests, grasslands, deserts, and coastal areas
    Red-tailed Hawk in other rankings
  3. 3
    Cooper's Hawk
    Rhododendrites · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Known for its sleek, slender appearance and striking blue-gray coloring, the Cooper's Hawk is a beautiful bird of prey. It is also known for its impressive hunting skills.
    The Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) is a medium-sized bird of prey that belongs to the Accipitridae family. It is known for its stunning beauty and impressive hunting abilities. The Cooper's Hawk's plumage is mostly bluish-gray on the upper parts with reddish bars on the chest and belly. Its long tail features dark bands and its eyes are bright orange. This hawk has a fierce and predatory look, with its sharp, curved beak and talons.
    • Size: Length: 14-20 inches (35-50 cm), Wingspan: 24-36 inches (61-91 cm)
    • Weight: Male: 7.7 - 14.8 ounces (220 - 420 grams), Female: 10.6 - 24 ounces (300 - 680 grams)
    • Lifespan: Up to 12 years in the wild, can live longer in captivity
    • Habitat: Wooded areas, forests, suburban parks, and gardens
    • Range: North America, from southern Canada to the northern parts of Mexico
  4. 4
    The Ferruginous Hawk is a large, powerful bird with striking reddish-brown coloring. Its impressive size and fierce hunting tactics make it a formidable predator.
    The Ferruginous Hawk is a large raptor known for its striking beauty and impressive size. It is one of the most beautiful hawks with its unique coloration and majestic appearance. This hawk is predominantly found in North America, particularly in the Great Plains and western regions. With its warm reddish-brown plumage and contrasting pale underparts, it stands out among other raptors.
    • Size: Large: Wingspan up to 4.5 feet (1.4 meters)
    • Weight: 3.3 to 5.3 pounds (1.5 to 2.4 kg)
    • Coloration: Warm reddish-brown plumage with pale underparts
    • Facial Features: Yellow eyes, hooked beak, and distinctive facial disk
    • Habitat: Open grasslands and prairies
  5. 5
    With its elegant white and gray coloring and distinctive black shoulder patches, the Black-shouldered Kite is a beautiful and graceful bird. It is also known for its impressive hovering abilities.
    The Black-shouldered Kite is a stunning bird of prey known for its sleek and graceful appearance. It is a small to medium-sized hawk with a distinctive black shoulder patch that contrasts with its white plumage. This species has a wide range of distribution, including Australia, Africa, and parts of Asia.
    • Conservation Status: Least Concern
    • Scientific Name: Elanus axillaris
    • Average Length: 35-38 cm
    • Average Wingspan: 80-95 cm
    • Weight: 210-350 grams
  6. 6
    Swainson's Hawk
    Dick Daniels ( · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Swainson's Hawk

    William Swainson
    The Swainson's Hawk is a stunning bird with a distinctive chestnut-red coloring on its underwings. It is also known for its impressive migration patterns.
    The Swainson's Hawk is a stunning bird of prey known for its elegant appearance and graceful flight. It is named after William Swainson, an English naturalist who first described the species. With its striking plumage and impressive size, the Swainson's Hawk is truly a sight to behold.
    • Scientific Name: Buteo swainsoni
    • Size: Length: 18-22 inches (45-56 cm), Wingspan: 47-56 inches (119-142 cm)
    • Weight: 1.5-2.6 pounds (0.7-1.2 kg)
    • Plumage: Adults: Light brown above, white below with a dark belly band, reddish-brown barring on the chest. Juveniles: Dark brown overall with a pale throat.
    • Range: Breeds in North America, from Alaska and Canada down to Mexico. Migrates to South America for the winter.
  7. 7
    Rough-legged Hawk
    Marton Berntsen · CC BY-SA 4.0
    The Rough-legged Hawk is a beautiful bird with a striking appearance, including a white head and tail, dark wings, and a distinctive pattern on its feathers. It is also known for its impressive hunting skills.
    The Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) is a majestic bird of prey that belongs to the Buteo genus. It is renowned for its stunning appearance, with striking patterns and colors that make it one of the most beautiful hawks in the world. Its common name, 'rough-legged,' is derived from the feathering on its lower legs, which features long feathers that resemble rough-textured leggings.
    • Scientific Name: Buteo lagopus
    • Family: Accipitridae
    • Wingspan: 52-55 inches (132-140 cm)
    • Length: 18-22 inches (46-56 cm)
    • Weight: 2.2-4.4 pounds (1-2 kg)
  8. 8
    With its impressive size and striking golden-brown coloring, the Golden Eagle is a majestic bird of prey. It is also known for its impressive hunting abilities and is revered in many cultures around the world.
    The Golden Eagle is a magnificent bird of prey widely known for its striking beauty and prowess in the sky. With its majestic appearance and powerful capabilities, it captivates the hearts of nature enthusiasts and bird lovers alike. Its regal plumage, characterized by rich golden-brown feathers on its head and neck, earned it the name 'Golden' Eagle.
    • Scientific Name: Aquila chrysaetos
    • Wingspan: 6.5 to 7.5 feet (1.98 to 2.29 meters)
    • Weight: 9 to 15 pounds (4.08 to 6.80 kilograms)
    • Habitat: Mountainous regions, open landscapes, and cliffs
    • Distribution: North America, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa
    Golden Eagle in other rankings
  9. 9
    The Harris's Hawk is a stunning bird with a distinctive chestnut-red coloring on its shoulders and legs. It is also known for its impressive hunting skills and is often used in falconry.
    The Harris's Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) is a medium-sized raptor known for its striking appearance and excellent hunting abilities. It is often considered one of the most beautiful hawks due to its vibrant plumage and unique markings.
    • Size: Approximately 18-21 inches (45-53 cm) in length
    • Wingspan: Approximately 3.5-4 feet (105-120 cm)
    • Weight: Around 1.5-3 pounds (0.7-1.4 kg)
    • Plumage: Predominantly dark brown with reddish-brown shoulders, legs, and tail
    • Face: White face with a distinctive dark brownish-black crown
  10. 10
    With its distinctive brown and white coloring and impressive wingspan, the Osprey is a beautiful and powerful bird of prey. It is also known for its unique hunting abilities, which include diving into water to catch fish.
    The Osprey is a charismatic bird of prey found worldwide that possesses unique characteristics and stunning beauty. Also known as the sea hawk, it is a medium-sized raptor with a distinctive appearance.
    • Species: Pandion haliaetus
    • Size: Wingspan 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters), Length 21 to 24 inches (53 to 61 centimeters)
    • Plumage: Dark brown upperparts, white underparts, and a prominent dark eye stripe
    • Habitat: Coastal regions, including shorelines, mangroves, and estuaries
    • Diet: Primarily fish, which it catches by diving into water after a hovering flight

Missing your favorite hawk?


Ranking factors for beautiful hawk

  1. Plumage color and pattern
    The color and pattern of a hawk's feathers play a significant role in its beauty. Look for vibrant hues, striking patterns, and unique combinations of colors that make each species stand out.
  2. Size and shape
    The hawk's size can be a factor in its appeal. Some people prefer sleek, slender hawks, while others are drawn to larger, more powerful birds. Consider the hawk's overall proportions and how its various features (wings, tail, legs, etc.) complement its body shape.
  3. Physical features
    Unique or striking physical features can also contribute to a hawk's beauty. Look at their distinctive beak shape, talons, and crest (if any) to appreciate their appearances.
  4. Eye color
    The eye color of a hawk can be an attractive factor. Often, hawks have distinct, bright eyes that can be quite striking in appearance.
  5. Flight patterns and agility
    A hawk's beauty is not just limited to its physical appearance – it also extends to the way it moves through the air. Observe its flight patterns, speed, and agility, and consider how these aspects contribute to its overall beauty.
  6. Behavior and personality
    The way a hawk interacts with its environment and other creatures can add to its allure. Observe their hunting techniques, territorial displays, and social behaviors for a deeper understanding of their intrinsic beauty.
  7. Rarity
    A hawk's rarity can make it more appealing. Species that are not commonly seen or are endangered can hold a special allure because of their scarcity.
  8. Geographic location and habitat
    Hawks are found all over the world and occupy diverse habitats. The regional characteristics and the habitats they thrive in can influence the perception of their beauty.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful hawk. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or hawk is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 198 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each hawk once every 24 hours. The rank of each hawk is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


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More information on most beautiful hawk

Hawks are majestic birds of prey that can be found all over the world. There are over 270 species of hawks, each with their unique characteristics and beauty. These birds are known for their keen eyesight, powerful talons, and impressive hunting skills. Hawks are often revered for their elegance and grace in flight, and many people consider them to be some of the most beautiful birds in the world. In this article, we will explore some of the most stunning hawks and see which one comes out on top as the most beautiful.

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