" angry riot of beak, feathers and talons."
— UK5 Eye of the Serpent (1984), p.13

The blood hawk is a highly aggressive carnivorous bird. Similar in size and appearance to a common hawk, they are persistent hunters with a particular taste for human flesh.



Blood hawks closely resemble normal hawks, and are primarily differentiated by their exceptional strength and aggressiveness. They are around three feet from beak to tail and have a wingspan of around seven feet.[1]

Their feathers are variously described as a uniform medium grey,[2] a mottled gray or dull gray,[1] though the dominant breed in current times possesses bright crimson feathers.[3]

Blood hawks were universally described as gray in color until their appearance in the Monster Manual (4e) (2008), where they became red. This color continued to be reflected in D&D 5th edition products.

Their face and beak are a yellow color, with blood red eyes.[1] Their talons are red-orange and scaly.[4]

Blood hawks are capable of making a screeching sound.[5]

Personality and alignment

Blood hawks are utterly ferocious in combat. They are particularly fond of human flesh, and will continue a fight with them even when it becomes apparent that the hawks are likely to lose.[2] The blood-frenzy with which they attack has been likened to that of a pack of sharks.[4]

Flocks of blood hawks attack by swooping silently to gain the benefit of surprise, and have been known to fight to the death rather than accept their defeat.[6] The strongest and largest of their kind are exceptionally ferocious, and continue to fight fiercely even while mortally wounded.[1]

They will also readily attack people who approach while they are feeding.[6] When attacking a group, they appear to choose their targets randomly and unpredictably.[7]

Blood hawks are highly territorial, and are quick to attack tresspassers who approach their lair. They crave blood, and take great pleasure in the hunt, often attacking even if they have already fed recently.[1]

Larger, more powerful blood hawks are exceptionally ferocious, and will readily fight to the death rather than accept defeat.[1]

Blood hawks are essentially just wild animals, and are neutral or unaligned in alignment.[2]

Abilities and traits

Blood hawks have wings similar to an eagle, and are able to fly with excellent speed and maneuverability.[2] They have also been known to make quick fly-by attacks.[8]

A blood hawk attacks with its razor sharp beak and exceptionally strong talons, which differentiate it from the common hawk. They attack by swooping down silently at great speed.[2] Their sharp beak and talons are known to inflict puncturing wounds which continue to bleed even after the hawk has been defeated.[1]

One of their feared methods of attack is to peck a target's eyes.[9] They have been said to peck a target's eyes out first, to prevent them from fighting back, and then to tear a man to shreds within minutes. The inhabitants of Avenia sell protective goggles made of leather of wood with narrow eye slits specifically to protect against this danger.[10] The hobgoblin rogue and blood hawk keeper Jhangle Three-Fingers lost his right eye and the small finger of his left hand to attacks by the creatures.[11]



Blood hawks dwell in forests, hills, mountains and plains.[1] They are also encountered in arctic and coastal regions.[12]

They have been spotted in various lands across numerous worlds, including the Phlan region of Faerûn,[13] the Faerûnian lands of Cormyr, Sembia, the Dalelands, Cormanthor, and Thar;[14] the deserts of Maztica,[15] the land of Zakhara,[16] Neron in the world of Krynn;[17] the forests of Haranshire;[18] the town of Hammerfast in the Dawnforge Mountains,[19] the Sighing Valley,[20] the coast of the Azure Sea,[21] Lady's Island,[10] and the environs of Dyvers in the world of Oerth.[7]


Blood hawks make nests in trees, and are found there around a quarter of the time.[2][6] They are known to make nests in trees,[6] and around tall rocky ledges.[22] A pair of blood hawks may share a nest.[5] Multiple blood hawks may make their nests in the same location.[6]

The ground below a blood hawk's nest is often littered with the bones of previous prey, which it picks clean.[5]

Life cycle

Blood hawks reproduce by laying clutches of up to three eggs in their nests. The parents are highly defensive of their eggs and will fight to the death to protect them.[23]

Blood hawks are believed to be related to the common hawk and other birds of prey. They are born into a family who typically hunt together when they become adults, although young adults sometimes leave the nest to set out on their own.[1]

They are not nocturnal, and are usually encountered during the day.[24]


Blood hawks are carnivorous birds of prey. Packs of blood hawks will attack even large prey, including humanoids. They are especially fond of humans in particular, and have been observed preferentially targeting humans over other humanoids in a group.[1]. They pick at the bodies of their prey to feed, and given the opportunity will eventually pick clean the bones of their prey.[6][2] In addition to large prey such as humanoids, they will consume smaller woodland creatures[5] and exotic creatures like flying snakes.[25]

Blood hawks produce copious amounts of droppings near their nests, which can make climbing up to loot the nests them difficult.[23]



Blood hawks are particularly fond of gemstones. The males of the species pick gems from humanoid victims to line their nests, which they use to attract females.[2] They have no interest in other forms of treasure.[16] Blood hawks are attracted to bright colors, and can sometimes be distracted by throwing gemstones or other shiny objects.[26]


Red blood hawk feathers are valued as a trade commodity. A bushel of one pound of feathers is worth two silver pieces.[25]

Blood hawk eggs are in demand among nobles who can use them to train as pets for hunting. Each egg sells for around 25 gp each, and a nest typically contains up to three eggs.[23]

Society and culture


Blood hawks often travel in groups, which allows them to hunt large prey. A group of blood hawks is known as a flock or a murder, and is commonly between 3-12 or 4-15 birds in size, although groups as large as 19 are not unheard of. Young adults are occasionally encountered solo.[2][16][1][27]

Blood hawks are either solitary, or travel in murders of 3 to 12 individuals.

Allies and minions

Blood hawks are sometimes kept as pets. The former ranger Antarctus Giantbane kept one, which he used as a messenger bird by tying a message to its leg.[28] Aimar, Duke of Andevar, kept two as pets.[29]

They are trained by various races to use in hunting, including elves and [[kenku].[30]

Cultural significance

The blood hawk is the namesake of several organizations or places. Among them are the The Blood Hawks of Faerûn, a cavalry unit;[31] and the Blood Hawk Posse of Waterdeep;[32] and the Blood Hawk Trail.[33]

"Blood Hawk" is usd as a rank for priests of Solonor Thelandira, elven god of hunting worshiped in Faerûn. It is a high rank, below only Fire Falcon and Gold Eagle.[34] In Faerûn, followers of Xvim believe the appearance of blood hawks to be a sign of his favor or disfavor.[35]

Wielders of Incarnum evoke the blood hawk when binding incarnum to the form of talons on their hands, a power known as Bloodtalons. They variously gain the ability to fight even when mortally injured, fight better with claws, or make bleeding attacks with their claws.[4]

The spells monster summoning I and flight of Remnis can summon blood hawks.[9][36]


Blood hawks were known to exist at least as long ago as the ice age.[37]

Publication history

AD&D 1st edition

The blood hawk first appeared in Fiend Folio (1e) (1981), p.15.

The creature is mentioned in the adventure modules I7 Baltron's Beacon (1985) and N3 Destiny of Kings (1e) (1986), where they are kept as pets; and The Great Bugbear Hunt (1986), UK3 The Gauntlet (1984), and UK5 Eye of the Serpent (1984) where they appear in nature.

The blood hawk appears in Wyrmsmere by Christopher Perkins, Dragon Annual 1 (1996); and A Hitch in Time, Dungeon Magazine #24, by Willie Walsh.

AD&D 2nd edition

The blood hawk appears in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989), under "hawk", and in the Monstrous Manual (1993), under "Bird".

Blood hawks appear in such adventure modules as WG11 Puppets (1989), Destiny of Kings (2e) (1998), and Night Below (1995).

MC13 Monstrous Compendium: Al-Qadim Appendix (1992) notes that the blood hawk would be appropriate for a campaign set in the Al-Qadim setting.

The blood hawk apepars in The Lady of the Mists, Dungeon Magazine #42 and Fraggart's Contraption, Dungeon Magazine #47.

An unrelated creature by the name of the Bloodhawk appears in Diablo II: The Awakening (2000), an AD&D adventure module based on the popular video game RPG Diablo II. Four types include the black raptor, bloodhawk, cloud stalker and foul crow.

D&D 3rd edition

The blood hawk appears in the Fiend Folio (3e) (2003), p.22-23, where it is a small magical beast. Frostburn (2004), p.199, notes that players who do not possess the Fiend Folio can substitute a hawk for its stats.

Blood hawks appear in The Distraction, Dungeon Magazine #145 and Shadows of Spinecastle, Dungeon Magazine #148.

D&D 4th edition

The blood hawk appears in Monster Manual 2 (4e) (2009), p.142, under "hawk". It is a level 1 skirmisher and a small natural beast.

The blood hawk sentinel, a level 6 skirmisher, appears in Dungeon Magazine #169.

D&D 5th edition

The blood hawk appears in the Monster Manual (5e) (2014), p.319, in Appendix A: Miscellaneous creatures. It is an unaligned small beast.

Blood hawks appear in the adventure modules Princes of the Apocalypse (2015), Ghosts of Saltmarsh (2019), Storm King's Thunder (2016), and The Tortle Package (2017).

Apocryphal sources

The third-party Tome of Horrors lists the blood hawk as an aberration. Ultimate Monsters lists them as tiny size.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Fiend Folio (3e) (2003), p.22-23.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Fiend Folio (1e) (1981), p.15.
  3. Monster Manual (5e) (2014), p.319.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Magic of Incarnum (2005), p.61.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 UK5 Eye of the Serpent (1984), p.13.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 The Great Bugbear Hunt (1986), p.24.
  7. 7.0 7.1 WG11 Puppets (1989), p.12.
  8. Monster Manual 2 (4e) (2009), p.142.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dragon Annual 1 (1996), p.19.
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Lady of the Mists, Dungeon Magazine #42, p.15.
  11. Shadows of Spinecastle, Dungeon Magazine #148, p.35.
  12. Dungeon Master's Guide (5e) (2014).
  13. FRC2 Curse of the Azure Bonds (1989), p.92.
  14. Elminster's Ecologies (1994).
  15. FMA1 Fires of Zatal (1991).
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 MC13 Monstrous Compendium: Al-Qadim Appendix, Table 1: Appropriate Monsters List (1992).
  17. Time of the Dragon (1989).
  18. Night Below (1995).
  19. Hammerfast (2010), p.6.
  20. Princes of the Apocalypse (2015), p.51.
  21. Ghosts of Saltmarsh (2019).
  22. UK3 The Gauntlet (1984), p.6.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Ghosts of Saltmarsh (2019), p.214-215.
  24. A Hitch in Time, Dungeon Magazine #24, p.29.
  25. 25.0 25.1 The Tortle Package (2017).
  26. Fraggart's Contraption, Dungeon Magazine #47, p.48.
  27. Xanathar's Guide to Everything (2017), p.104.
  28. I7 Baltron's Beacon (1985), p.7.
  29. N3 Destiny of Kings (1e) (1986), p.29.
  30. Monster Manual 2 (4e) (2009), p.142,154.
  31. I14 Swords of the Iron Legion (1988), p.39-41.
  32. Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (2018), p.82.
  33. The Distraction, Dungeon Magazine #145, p.15.
  34. Demihuman Deities (1998), p.134.
  35. Faiths & Avatars (1996), p.83.
  36. Demihuman Deities (1998), p.97.
  37. Thrills and Chills: Ice Age Adventures, Dragon #68 (Dec 1982), p.72.
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