Sex: Male
Birthday: December 2, 1995
Idaho Fish and Game transferred Scrappy to Zoo Idaho as a non-releasable Swainson’s Hawk. Scrappy can often be heard during the spring time “talking” to the wild hawks that visit the zoo.

Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)


Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum:  Chordata
Class:  Aves
Order:  Falconiformes
Family:  Accipitidae
Genus:  Buteo
Species:  Buteo swainsoni

Conservation Status in Idaho

Demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure, breeding population.

US Migratory Bird Act


Range and Habitat

The Swainson’s Hawk is found in the western United States into southwest Canada and south to west Texas. In the winter months, these birds migrate into Central America. They prefer open grasslands and desert-like habitats.

Physical Features

Weight:  1.8–2.5 lbs (0.8–1.1 kg)
Length:  19–22 in (48–56 cm)
Wingspan:  47–57 in (119.4–144.8 cm)

The Swainson’s hawk has two distinct color morphs and further variations have been observed. The light color morph includes white patches on the forehead, throat, and belly with the rest of the body being a dark brown. The less common dark morph includes an entirely dark body with a white patch under the tail.


Insects, small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.


20 years in the wild and slightly longer in captivity.


Both male and female Swainson’s hawks reach sexual maturity at two years. They are mostly monogamous and become highly territorial during the breeding season. Breeding and nest building occurs in March and April. Two – four eggs are laid, incubation lasts 30 days, hatch between March and July, and stay in the nest for another 30 days. Most juveniles migrate the following winter with their parents.

Social Behavior and Interaction

Swainson’s Hawks are highly territorial during the mating season but for the remainder of the year live among other Swainson’s and birds in general. They are also known to form flocks during migration and winter roosts.

Major Threats

Monocrotophos pesticide use in the wintering grounds of Argentina. An estimated 35,000 Swainson’s hawk die off in one season was due to the use of pesticides.