Harris Hawks are formidable hunters. Acting as the wolves of the sky Harris hawks work in packs most commonly consisting of two males and one female, however groups of four to six are not uncommon which are often comprised of younger Harris hawks. Much like wolf packs Harris hawks will share any food that is caught amongst the pack making them the only bird of prey known to do so. It is because of this innate pack nature and level of intelligence that has seen Harris Hawk quickly rise in popularity among the falconry community for demonstration, hunting and pest control purposes.
Distribution and Habitat
The Harris Hawk is a common sight throughout the southern states of America (Texas, Mexico..) where they have adapted to a wild variety of terrains such as harsh dry landscapes like desert, to the more waterlogged landscapes of mangroves as well as surrounding forests.
Due to varying terrains the diet of Harris Hawks is based on where they are hunting. Harris Hawks primarily hunt such quarry as small to medium sized mammals, ground squirrels, rabbits, lizards, birds and occasionally carrion. Using their pack sizes to their advantage, the Harris Hawks ware down their prey taking turns to give chase which allows them to have a far higher success rate to that of other birds of prey.
The striated caracara are currently classed as ‘Least Concern ‘ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However Harris hawks are still threated by growing human encroachment into their habitats, this also extends to secondary poisoning; when a Harris hawk consumes a rodent or small mammal that has consumed rat/mouse poison etc. There are also larger birds of prey that will also hunt and kill Harris Hawks.