Our offices are currently closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Staff members are working from home and available by email. Please see our Staff Directory for a list of email addresses.
For updates about State of Nevada office closures, please visit http://nv.gov/.

Buteo swainsoni

Scientific Name:Buteo swainsoni
Common name:Swainson's Hawk
Rank and Status   
Global Rank:G5 Native Status:Native
Subnational (State) Rank:S3B Endemic:No
US ESA Status:None Sand Dunes:No
NNHP Tracking Status:Watch List Wetland:No
Other Agency Status Status Last Updated Status Comments
Bureau of Land Management - Nevada Sensitive BLM Nevada Sensitive Species List dated 2017-10-01
US Forest Service - Region 5 (California) Dropped, no longer of concern USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region [R5], Sensitive Animal Species by Forest, updated 09/09/2013
Nevada Wildlife Action Plan - 2005 Species of Conservation Priority
Nevada Partners in Flight Priority Bird Species
Audubon Watchlist 2007 Yellow List
CCVI Score Presumed Stable Conf. VH.
Distribution (NV Counties)

Status: Predicted or probable

Carson City Lander Mineral Storey
Douglas Lincoln Nye Washoe
Esmeralda Lyon Pershing White Pine

Status: Confident or certain

Churchill Elko Humboldt
Summary Occurrence Data
Occurrence Count:29
Total Observed Area (hectares):Not Available
Maximum Known Elevation (m):1350
Minimum Known Elevation (m):1183
Buteo swainsoni data at NatureServe
Buteo swainsoni photos and data at Encyclopedia of Life
Character Abstract
Identification Comments:
Subspecies Comments:
Food Habits:Vertebrates (mainly mammals) dominate the diet during the breeding season; invertebrates (especially crickets and grasshoppers) are common food at other times and sometimes for nonbreeders in summer. Hawks wintering in Argentina ate mainly dragonflies (Condor 95:475-479, Wilson Bull. 105:365-366). Mammals consumed often include young ground squirrels and pocket gophers. Depending on availability, also eats other small mammals, snakes, lizards, birds, amphibians, and some carrion (e.g., road kills). Hunts for insects on ground; may also catch insects in air. Hunts while soaring or from perch. Does not feed during most of migration (occasional feeding during initial and terminal stages) (Palmer 1988).
Phenology Comments:Swainson's hawk can be observed in Nevada from April through October.  
Reproduction Comments:Nesting begins in April and May. During May, two or three, rarely four, dull-white eggs with obscure brownish marking are laid. Incubation requires about 28 days and the young hawks are approximately 35 days old before they are capable of making short flights. The young birds continue to be fed by the adults and remain within the nesting territory for two or three weeks after fledging, often returning tot he nest tree to roost. (Herron et al. 1985).
Migration Mobility:
Habitat Comments:Swainson's Hawks have adapted to agricultural landscapes in Nevada. An ideal landscape for the Swainson's Hawk provides large riparian nesting trees, agricultural fields, and open shrublands within relatively close proximity (GBBO 2010). Swainson's Hawks in the Great Basin occupy the Juniper/Sagebrush community typical to the area. In California, Swainson's hawk habitat generally consists of large, flat, open, undeveloped landscapes that include suitable grassland or agricultural foraging habitat and sparsely distributed trees for nesting (England et al. 1997). Populations in the Great Basin often use juniper trees (<i>Juniperus </i>sp.) for nesting (England et al. 1997), and at least three known nest sites in the Mojave Desert are in Joshua trees (<i>Yucca brevifolia</i>) (California Natural Diversity Database 2009) (PCCP 2010). In addition to Joshua trees, this species was also known historically from the Mojave Yukka (<i>Yucca schidigera</i>) and possibly desert riparian habitats (Bloom 1980).<br /> 
Ecology comments:
Version Date:11/05/1999 - 12:00am

Not Available