Name this Hawk - sorry no picture

OK experts: Would I be crazy if I told you a short-tailed hawk just killed one of my chickens? I live in central Maine - the hawk was large - the size of a red-tailed if not larger. It had a bright white belly and a dark dark grey back. The range for short tails does not seem to match up with Maine in the sites I found.

?? What could it have been? Doesn’t seem to match up with a listing of hawks found in Maine - maybe a Swainson’s hawk…maybe?

Seems unlikely:

  • Not expected in Maine, especially not in February
  • Not short-tailed
  • Doesn’t have bright white belly

But I’m not sure what else to suggest. Coopers Hawk might possibly be expected to kill a chicken in Maine in Feb., and has a light-colored belly. But it also has a notably long tail.

Indeed - the Short-Tailed Hawk would be rare north of Florida, and pretty much impossible in Maine in winter.

Any of these look familiar?

I would say either a Northern Goshawk or Northern Harrier. Male from either of the descriptions. The breast looked snow white, but it could have been finely striped - I was 30-40 feet away and rather distressed when it took off.

Hope he gets indigestion.

Bantams or full sized chickens? A sharp shinned hawk has a gray back, medium sized hawk. Can you make a few hollow brush piles near their foraging areas so they’ll have an escape route?

Goshawk would be in Maine and likely to go after available chickens - but it, too, has a long tail.

Chicken-killing would be very strange behavior for a harrier.

And they have a long tail.

Wasn’t me, I swear.

Ah, of course not man - we know you’re not up to it. That’s why your name is SparrowHawk, not ChickenHawk :D.

Excellent photos.

I’m going to go with Goshawk based on the photos and your comments. It could have had a long tail - I was guessing based on color - dark grey back and white belly. The chicken was a larger breed - Ameraucana.

The hawk seemed to know what it was doing - there are places to hide in the pen - but it waited until it was time for the chickens to go back to the coop (dusk) - and they don’t have any cover for about 10 feet. It’s a gauntlet of death apparently. After I cleaned away the remains - I herded the rest of the chickens one by one into the coop - they all stopped and looked at the pile of feathers. It was a little sad. Perhaps they were suspicious of a trick.

If it was this guy, his name is Henery.


That’s the guy! Stronger than he looks.