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What Is A Chicken Hawk

Updated on January 10, 2013

There Are Three Hawks Commonly Called Chicken Hawk

Three hawks are commonly referred to as chickenhawks but any bird killing barnyard animals or pets can be called a chickenhawk.
Three hawks are commonly referred to as chickenhawks but any bird killing barnyard animals or pets can be called a chickenhawk. | Source

Three Birds Commonly Called Chickenhawk

In the US there are three hawks that are commonly designated Chickenhawk.

  • The Coopers Hawk is found in the woodland canopy dodging trees and snatching birds out of mid air. The hawk is usually seen as a blur ending in a puff of feathers.
  • The Sharp Shinned Hawk is the smallest hawk in North America and flies at high speeds through heavily forested areas scooping unsuspecting birds out of the air.
  • The Red Tail Hawk is the most common hawk in North America and can be seen gliding high above open or partially forested land in search of prey.

Chicken Hawk, The Most Common Hawk Around

Chicken Hawks are perhaps the most common hawk around because nearly any hawk, falcon or other raptor could be termed "chicken hawk". In colloquial usage the term merely refers any bird that may or has stolen chickens, cats, small dogs, rabbits or any other small barnyard animal. In fact, hawks have other colloquial names referring to their habit of pestering humans with their presence that can make identification troublesome.

Hawks are also know by their European name of Buzzard. How many of you think of a hawk when you here that word. In most cases the first bird that comes to mind when you use the word buzzard is a vulture or turkey vulture. These two birds are in fact a nuisance to humans and also because of their penchant for carrion have been dubbed "buzzards". To make matters even more confusing the turkey vulture is not a vulture. It is merely a bird who has evolved along a convergent path and which resembles the Old World vultures of Europe, Africa and Asia.

Sharp Shinned Hawks Are The Smallest North American Hawk

Sharp shinned hawks are commonly called chickenhawks because they prey on chickens and other birds.
Sharp shinned hawks are commonly called chickenhawks because they prey on chickens and other birds. | Source

Merrie Melodies Foghorn Leghorn And The Chickenhawk

Looney Toons' Henery Hawk (The Chicken Hawk)

The chicken hawk (Henery Hawk) was a character created by Bob McKimson. The hawk was portrayed as being young, naïve. Because of his youth and vigor the chicken hawk was easily deceived and tricked into thinking that the dog, or Sylvester were actually chickens. The very popular Foghorn Leghorn was actually created as part of the Henery Hawk theme but quickly rose in popularity, outshining the original star.

Bell Helicopters UH-1H Chickenhawk

The Bell Helicopter Huey UH-1H Chickenhawk was an invaluable asset to allied forces during the Viet Nam and other conflicts.
The Bell Helicopter Huey UH-1H Chickenhawk was an invaluable asset to allied forces during the Viet Nam and other conflicts. | Source

Chickenhawks Go To War

The word chickenhawk has been applied to many other areas of our lives. Most notably perhaps is its association with lightning fast attacks. Chickenhawks have become the mascots of many school sports associations as well as several military applications as well. The Bell Helicopter Huey UH-1H Chickenhawk was first used in combat situations during the Viet Nam War but has since been deployed around the world and serves in every branch of service and in many of our ally nations armed forces.

The book Chickenhawk written by Robert Mason is a first hand account of his experiences as a UH-1 pilot in Viet Nam. The book describes the many missions he went on and how the helicopters were used in war. My own father was a UH-1 pilot in Viet Nam and says the book is very true to life. His one caveat was that it was more likely a collection of stories, including Mason's own, put together in one story, much like the movie Platoon.

Chicken Hawk

  • Any bird providing a nuisance to humans, especially if it is killing chickens, ducks, pigeons or any other small barnyard animals.

Other Usage

  • Mascot for school or military organizations who favor lightening fast action.
  • Political term describing one who is fond of or in favor of making war.
  • A delightful and troublesome character from Looney Toons who frequently pestered Foghorn Leghorn.

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    • TMHughes profile image
      Author

      TMHughes 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I did not include the kestrel in that comparison.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 4 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

      I thought the smallest American hawk is the Sparrow Hawk or American Kestrel or are you making a distinction between Accipiters and Falcons, hawks not including Falcons? http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-nUyuaG-zYJQ/UO2OTsCRJ_I/...

    • TMHughes profile image
      Author

      TMHughes 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      That would be cool, I may also add some helicopter videos.

    • TFScientist profile image

      Rhys Baker 4 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      What a fantastic hub. The use of images and videos really enhanced the information which taught me a lot about this beautiful bird. Perhaps you could find a video of the bird in flight or nesting to further improve this fantastic hub?

      Thanks for sharing!

    • TMHughes profile image
      Author

      TMHughes 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks again !

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I think you covered chicken hawk very well.

    • TMHughes profile image
      Author

      TMHughes 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks, I was inspired and was actually surprised where it took me.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Very interesting...thanks for sharing all of this information with us. ps

    • TMHughes profile image
      Author

      TMHughes 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      It is a surprisingly broad topic.

    • Angelo52 profile image

      Angelo52 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Interesting information on Chicken Hawks. Nice blend of nature, machine and entertainment.

    • tngolfplayer profile image

      tngolfplayer 4 years ago from Knoxville

      I love hawks and any of the large predatory birds. I was so fortunate to get some pictures of a very fat hawk around here a couple years ago. Loved it!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      What a wonderful hub and I vote up,across and share.

      I now look forward to many more from you.

      Eddy.

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