According to the Bylaws of the Lodge, the office is held by the Hawk who kills the machine that is regarded by the Lodge as the most dangerous. If two Hawks each kill a unit of this machine, the Hawk that kills a unit first becomes the Sunhawk. If he or she is incumbent, he or she remains in the office. He or she can be supplanted by a Hawk who kills another unit considered to be even more dangerous than the Sunhawk’s unit, or a Hawk who kills any machine that is considered more dangerous altogether. For example, Hawk Ahsis became Sunhawk by being the first Hawk to kill a Thunderjaw, inarguably the most dangerous machine in the Lodge’s history up to that point. However he was eventually replaced by Talanah Khane Padish after she killed the Thunderjaw known as Redmaw, considered to be the most dangerous of all Thunderjaws. Barring supplantation, the Sunhawk remains in office for life or until voluntary retirement from the Lodge.
The Sunhawk's duties, as set forth in the Bylaws of the Lodge, are as follows:
- Assigning a Fledgling as a Thrush to a Hawk upon request by the Hawk and declaration by the Hawk that he or she is the aspirant Thrush's sponsor. This is provided that the sponsorship is according to the Bylaws of the Lodge.
- Receiving trophies presented by Hawks and Thrushes from their kills, provided their condition is acceptable as set forth by the Bylaws of the Lodge.
- Adjudication of a trophy’s worth in cases where that worth is disputed.
- Negotiation of fees or bounties associated with any hunt undertaken by members of the Lodge
- Distribution of profits from the aforementioned hunts among the seven Hawks of the Lodge.
- Appointment of a Keeper to oversee each of the Lodge’s five Hunting Grounds.
The first Sunhawk was Nahasis, who was also the tenth Carja Sun-King. After his coronation, Hawk Farukawas held the office. He was followed by Talavad Khane Padish. Talavad and many Hawks ran afoul of Sun-King Jiran after they publicly opposed his Red Raids and sacrifice of their victims in the Sun-Ring. Thrown into the Sun Ring themselves by Jiran as punishment, they heroically fought the attacking machines. When two Behemoths sent against them got free among the spectators, they managed to kill both of them before ultimately dying, presumably from their injuries. Tarkas himself killed one Behemoth before being killed by the other.
Tarkas was succeeded by Ahsis. Ahsis ran the Lodge according to then prevailing Carja culture of sexism and bigotry toward non-Carja. He was forced to grudgingly open the Lodge to women and non-Carja onthe command of Jiran’s successor Avad. He was also extremely arrogant, greedy and amoral. His ego, which could not abide anyone but himself getting glory, drive him to forbid all mention of the Hawks’ sacrifice in the Sun-Ring. This earned him the enmity of Hawk Talanah Khane Padish, Talavad’s daughter. She succeeded in supplanting him with the help of her Thrush, the Nora huntress Aloy, and is the current Sunhawk.