How Much Does a Hawk Cost?

Written by: Staff

Hawks are believed to be one of the smartest birds, according to the techniques of determining avian intelligence quotient (IQ) by Dr. Louis Lefebvre.  They are also renowned for having excellent vision. The hawk’s eye has roughly five times as many photoreceptors as that of human beings, in addition to special muscles and nerves unknown in eyes of other animals. Hawks also have an indented fovea, located at the back of the eyeball, which helps magnify the midpoint of the visual field.

Many types of hawks in the United States are endangered due to humans, but some people may shoot hawks to protect their livestock or simply as a sport.  Many species around the world are protected by law.  The most common hawks kept as a pet is a red-tailed hawk.

Hawk by PaulHorner, on Flickr
Hawk” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by PaulHorner

How much does a red-tailed hawk cost?

In order to legally own a hawk, one must become a falconer, which can take upwards of two years to legally become one.  This process is required because handling and feeding a hawk is a lot different than other pet birds.  On average, be prepared to spend about $650 to $5,000 per bird, and the cost will depend on the type of hawk, gender, age and who you’re purchasing it from.  All in all, in order to own one legally, you must become a licensed falconer., an online classified site that focuses on selling hawks, has listings that vary anywhere from $650 to as much as $5,000, for example.

Golden Creek Bird Farm, based in Canada, has a few hawk listings at the time of this publishing, with prices ranging from $750 to more than $2,500.

What are the extra costs?

As stated above, you must become a certified falconer in order to legally own one.  First, you must have a Federal and a local state falconry license which will be provided by your State Game and Fish Department.  The only state that doesn’t have regulations, according to, is Hawaii.  If you fail to receive a license and are found to own a hawk, then the state can confiscate your bird and you will be cited/fined.

Food, which often consists of frozen mice, quail, pigeons, can cost about $1 to $2 per day.

A transmitter and receiver to keep track of your hawk can cost close to $1,000.

When getting started, a housing facility and all of the equipment can easily cost more than $1,000.

If purchasing a bird online via a breeder, additional shipping and handling fees may apply.

Tips to know:

To receive a falconry license, you will first need to take a test on biology, training, the veterinary aspects of the bird, and test takers must score a minimum of 80 percent.  Upon passing, you will then need to find a professional falconer to sponsor and train you for the next two years.  Then, after these two years, you will be able to build a facility and obtain the necessary equipment before the Game and Fish Department approves your setup.  After paying the fee, you can then become a falconer.

Hawks are technically regarded as birds of prey that live all around the world. There are more than 50 species of true hawks, most of which belong to the genus Accipiter. They are classified in the subfamily Accipitrinae. Most birds of the genus Accipiter are known as sparrowhawks or goshawks.

They are skilled hunters which may feed during the day or night. Their prey includes smaller birds, reptiles and even mammals, depending on the species of hawk. As a result of their excellent eyesight, intelligence, as well as natural predatory behavior, the hawk species are often used as opposed to falcons and eagles in the sport of falconry, in which these birds are used to catch small game.

A mature red-tailed hawk can reach two to three pounds and has a wingspan up to 52 inches.

They have keen eyesight and are capable of spotting their prey from 1,000 feet in the air and dive at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour.

The typical hawk is believed to possess a 20/2 vision, rather than the 20/20 vision of average human beings. This implies that a hawk is capable of seeing an object 20 feet away which a human can only see from a distance of two feet.

To date, there are 5,000 falconers in the United States. To get started with falconry, contact a local club to receive more information.

Hawks are not considered to be social birds nor do they like to be held.  They tend to be solitary, not friendly and can’t be tamed.

In the wild, a red-tailed hawk can live up to 15 years, but in captivity, they can live close to 20.

Due to a hawk’s smaller size, it has been known they can carry less than a few pounds.  HawksaLoft recommends keeping pets smaller than 15 pounds indoor if you feel threatened by hawks.

Red-tail hawk screech

How can I save money?

Consider purchasing your hawk from another falconer at a lower price or apply to obtain a permit allowing you to capture a wild one.

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