Harris's hawk


Har·​ris's hawk ˈher-ə-səz- How to pronounce Harris's hawk (audio)
: a black hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) found from the southwestern U.S. to South America that has brown shoulders and conspicuous white markings on the rump and tail

called also Harris hawk

Word History


after Edward Harris †1863 American farmer, horse breeder and naturalist

Note: The earlier name was Harris's buzzard. The bird was so named by John James audubon after a friend and supporter, as in A Synopsis of the Birds of North America (Edinburgh, 1839), p. 5. In the Ornithological Biography accompanying volume 5 of the plates for The Birds of America and on the plate itself, Audubon designated the bird "Louisiana Hawk." The taxonomic name he gave there, Falco Harrisii, which he later replaced by Buteo Harrisii, turned out to be invalid, as the bird had already been described and named in Brazil as Falco unicinctus, eventually replaced by the current name Parabuteo unicinctus; the epithet harrisii has been retained for a northern subspecies of the bird.

First Known Use

1909, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Harris's hawk was in 1909

Dictionary Entries Near Harris's hawk

Cite this Entry

“Harris's hawk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Harris%27s%20hawk. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

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