What Hawks can you see in Spain? There are 3 different species of Hawks that you might encounter in Spain. Read this article to see pictures, hear their sound and get great information about where and when you can spot all Hawks in Spain.
From the flamenco rhythms of Andalusia to the awe-inspiring art of Catalonia, Spain is a tapestry of rich culture, vibrant colors, and soul-stirring landscapes. Above the golden plains and jagged mountain ranges, a different story unfolds—the majestic dance of Spanish hawks. Let’s take a flight through the sun-drenched skies of Spain and acquaint ourselves with these awe-inspiring raptors.
Let’s jump into the article.
1. Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus):
Like a shadow that flits swiftly through the olive groves and over sunlit plazas, the Eurasian Sparrowhawk is a familiar and elegant presence in Spanish skies. Petite, with a slate-grey back for males and a brownish hue for females, its distinct barring below makes for a breathtaking sight against the blue expanse.
Diving agilely amidst the dense forests of Andalusia and the open terrains of Castile, it is known for its remarkable hunting prowess, primarily targeting small birds with a speed that leaves one spellbound. The ancient streets of cities like Seville and Granada often resonate with its sharp, distinctive calls, intertwining nature with centuries of history and culture.
2. Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)
In the vibrant tapestry of Spain’s skies, where the sun meets the horizon and paints palettes of oranges and purples, the Northern Goshawk emerges as a magnificent masterpiece. Revered, fierce, and a symbol of wild Spain, this raptor carries with it the spirit of the Iberian Peninsula’s diverse landscapes.
Larger and more formidable than the Eurasian Sparrowhawk, the Northern Goshawk exhibits a stunning mix of bluish-grey plumage on its upper body, while its underparts are beautifully barred. The young ones have a cloak of rich brown and their eyes, a deep shade of yellow, only to metamorphose into the mature, fiery red-eyed bird of prey as they age.
Through the dense cork oak forests of Extremadura to the Pyrenean mountain range, the goshawk’s haunting calls echo, a testament to its territorial nature. Employing a hunting style that is nothing short of artistry, the bird dives and winds through woodlands with unmatched agility, capturing everything from birds to mammals. As it takes to the sky after its hunt, it paints a silhouette that embodies both beauty and power.
In local Spanish lore, the Northern Goshawk is often intertwined with tales of brave knights and mystical woods, a guardian of ancient secrets and untouched landscapes. For the wanderer traversing Spain’s vast expanses, from the bustling streets of Madrid to the serene olive orchards of Andalusia, a glimpse of this bird is a poetic experience—a fleeting moment that captures the soul of wild Spain.
3. Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus)
As the Mediterranean sun bathes Spain’s vast landscapes in golden hues, a rare silhouette may sometimes grace the skies, weaving tales of distant Arctic tundras and the allure of nature’s contrasts: the Rough-legged Hawk.
This elegant raptor, distinguished from other hawks by feathered legs that stretch down to its toes, is an embodiment of nature’s adaptability. Adorned with a mottled brown plumage, dark wrist patches on the wings, and a banded tail, it stands out against the azure backdrop of Spanish skies. Adult individuals display a magnificent contrast of dark and light, with their tail’s bold, terminal band acting as a signature mark.
Though Spain is not its usual domain, during the colder months, one might occasionally find this Arctic visitor over the open terrains of the Spanish plateau, hovering in a hunt for unsuspecting prey below. The Rough-legged Hawk’s diet is an eclectic mix, primarily consisting of small mammals like voles, but occasionally including birds, showcasing its versatile hunting prowess.
The hawk’s presence in Spain is a seasonal interlude, an avian ballet set against the backdrop of rolling vineyards, ancient castles, and the snow-tipped Sierra Nevada. For those fortunate enough to witness its dance, it offers a connection to remote icy realms and a testament to the remarkable journeys of the avian world.
In Spain, where every sunset is a painting and every melody has roots deep in history, the Rough-legged Hawk’s rare appearance is a serendipitous gift—a fleeting whisper of the Arctic in the warm embrace of Iberia.