Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Giant Hawkfish

Cirrhitus rivulatus

The Giant hawkfish is found along the West Coast of North America from southern Baja to northern Peru. It is the largest of the four species of hawkfish, reaching up to 24 inches long. They have mazelike markings ranging from gray and brown to bright yellow and blue.

Range & Habitat

This species can be found along the Gulf of California, from Baja, CA, as far south as northern Colombia and the Galapagos Islands. It is solitary and lives in shallow waters near the coast, often camouflaged against rocks.

Conservation Status: Least Concern


In the Wild: Crustaceans and small fish.

At the Zoo: Shrimp, squid and specialized fish gel.

Life Span

In the Wild: 5 to 7 years
In Human Care: up to 10 years

Fun Facts about the Giant Hawkfish

  • Hawkfish are known for their ability to perch on their pectoral fins.
  • They are named for their hawklike hunting technique, often perching on the highest point of a coral reef and diving down to seize prey.


Fish Base; Giant Hawkfish.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; Giant Hawkfish.

Reef App Encyclopedia, Giant Hawkfish.



Updated January 15, 2021