What Hawks can you see in Italy? (3 Species with Pictures & Sounds)

What Hawks can you see in Italy? There are 3 different species of Hawks that you might encounter in Italy. Read this article to see pictures, hear their sound and get great information about where and when you can spot all Hawks in Italy.

From the rolling vineyards of Tuscany to the ancient ruins of Rome, Italy is a country steeped in history, art, and unparalleled beauty. As you traverse its iconic landscapes, there’s a parallel narrative playing out high above, told by the hawks that grace the Italian skies. Let’s set our sights upwards and soar alongside these aerial custodians of the Italian peninsula.

Let’s jump into the article.

1. Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus):

The delicate dance of the Eurasian Sparrowhawk can often be seen above the bustling streets of Florence, the serene canals of Venice, or the sun-kissed olive groves of Puglia. Compact in size but mighty in spirit, the sparrowhawk is cloaked in a blue-grey for the males and a rustic brown for the females, with both showcasing a captivating pattern of bars and streaks beneath.

This agile raptor darts effortlessly through the cypress trees, on the prowl for its favorite prey—smaller birds. Its presence is a testament to the intricate balance of Italy’s ecosystems, from the snow-capped peaks of the Alps to the sandy shores of Sicily.

It isn’t just the sparrowhawk’s hunting prowess that leaves an impression. Its sharp, staccato calls reverberate across the vine-clad hills, a timeless tune that blends seamlessly with Italy’s rich tapestry of sounds.

2. Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

Amidst the historic charm and scenic splendors of Italy, a raptor of immense grace and power makes its presence felt—the Northern Goshawk. As emblematic to the verdant forests of Italy as the Colosseum is to Rome, this hawk merges both strength and elegance, akin to a gladiator of the skies.

Donning a captivating cloak of bluish-grey on the males and a rich, somber brown in females, the Northern Goshawk is a sight to behold. Underneath, the intricate barring patterns play out on its chest, a trait shared with its smaller cousin, the Eurasian Sparrowhawk. But it’s the fiery red eyes of the mature individuals that command attention, reflecting the fiery passion so characteristic of Italy itself.

Venture into the Apennine Mountains, or take a stroll through the dense chestnut and oak woods of Umbria, and you might just hear the Goshawk’s echoing calls, which range from sharp notes during hunts to more mellow tones when at rest. These forests are its stage, where it displays unmatched agility, swooping and darting to capture its prey, from unsuspecting pigeons and crows to squirrels and rabbits.

Tales of the Goshawk are woven into the local lore of Italian villages. Just as artists like Leonardo and Michelangelo shaped the country’s legacy, the Goshawk, through its majestic flights and unmistakable calls, crafts the narrative of Italy’s wilder, untamed side.

For those who traverse Italy’s diverse landscapes, from the romantic canals of Venice to the rustic charm of Tuscany, spotting the Northern Goshawk is like witnessing a living art form—an experience that is, undoubtedly, ‘la dolce vita’ for every nature enthusiast.

3. Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus)

Italy, with its Renaissance art, terracotta roofs, and the timeless romance of its cobblestoned streets, hides a lesser-known secret in its skies—the rare passage of the Rough-legged Hawk.

A traveler from the cold Arctic tundras, the Rough-legged Hawk brings with it tales of distant icy expanses and the dance of the Northern Lights. With feathered legs stretching all the way down to its toes, it’s a unique spectacle, especially set against the picturesque Italian horizons. Its distinct plumage, showcasing a mosaic of mottled browns, dark wrist patches on its wings, and that telltale banded tail, sets it apart from its raptor peers in the region.

You’d think such a bird would be out of place amidst the olive groves and vineyards, but during certain cold spells, the hawk may venture into the northern parts of Italy, gracing places like the Po Valley with its ethereal presence. Hovering in search of prey, mostly small mammals like voles, the Rough-legged Hawk showcases a remarkable adaptability and hunting prowess, regardless of whether it’s over the Arctic’s icy plains or Italy’s fertile lands.

Although its Italian sojourns are not common, those lucky few who spot this hawk while perhaps sipping on a Chianti or cruising the Venetian canals, are reminded of the incredible migratory patterns and journeys undertaken by birds. It serves as a gentle reminder that Italy, for all its history and culture, is a mere stop in the grand journeys crafted by nature’s winged wonders.

For bird enthusiasts and casual tourists alike, the occasional sighting of the Rough-legged Hawk amidst Italy’s artistic and culinary riches is akin to discovering a hidden gem—a fleeting, yet unforgettable brush with the wild.