Red-tailed Hawk

(Buteo jamaicensis)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

Red-tailed Hawk


N5B, N5N - Secure Breeding and Nonbreeding

SNRB, SNRN - Unranked Breeding and Nonbreeding


not listed


Common migrant and breeder


Open country with some trees


Male: 18 to 23 in length
48 to 60 wingspan

Female: 20 to 25 in length
48¾ to 60 wingspan

Photo by Wayne Rasmussen












Mid-February to late April and mid-August through November





Falconiformes (diurnal birds of prey)



Accipitridae (eagles, hawks, and kites)



Accipitrinae (hawks, eagles, buzzards, vultures, and relatives)

Subordinate Taxa

Alaska Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis alascensis)

Caribbean Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis jamaicensis)

Costa Rican Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis costaricensis)

Cuban Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis solitudinus)

Eastern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis borealis)

Florida Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis umbrinus)

Fuertes’s Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis fuertesi)

Harlan’s Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis harlani)

Krider’s Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis kriderii)

Northern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis abieticola)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis hadropus)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis kemsiesi)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis suttoni)

Socorro Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis socorroensis)

Tres Marias Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis fumosus)

Western Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis calurus)











Visitor Photos

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Dan W. Andree

Red-tailed Hawk at nest....

Red-tailed Hawk at nest.... Not the best photo but one cannot stick around their area that long without disturbing them. I like this hawk and hawks are pretty awesome when they are soaring high in the sky to. This nest was in a White Pine tree in Mn. April 2018.

  Red-tailed Hawk    

Red-tailed Hawk in flight...

In this photo you can see the rusty or reddish brown tail.

  Red-tailed Hawk    

A mature hawk high in the sky

  Red-tailed Hawk    

Immature Red-tailed Hawk in Flight.

  Red-tailed Hawk    

Wayne Rasmussen

Black Dog Preserve is located on the south side of the Minnesota River in Burnsville. This hawk caught my attention on a cold winter day.

  Red-tailed Hawk    

Oxbow Co Park, Olmstead Co, MN

  Red-tailed Hawk    








  Red-tailed Hawk
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Red-tailed Hawk  
  Eastern Red-tailed Hawk
JMC Nature Photos
  Eastern Red-tailed Hawk  
  Western Red-tailed Hawk
JMC Nature Photos
  Western Red-tailed Hawk  
  Red-Tailed Hawks
Craig A. Mullenbach
  Red-Tailed Hawks  
  Red-tailed Hawk Hunting Expedition
Craig A. Mullenbach
  Red-tailed Hawk Hunting Expedition  

I saw this hawk on a flagpole the day before I took these shots. I decided to bring the DSLR the next day knowing the chance I'd see it again would be remote. I saw it on the top of the light pole as soon as I pulled into the parking lot. As I approached, I took some shots. Within a minute or two, it swooped down to grab a mouse. After it secured its prey, it proceeded to the top of another light pole nearby. For the nest several minutes I watched as it tore apart and ate the little mouse.

The last 12 or so in this set are from 8-18-10 but it might be the same hawk. It hangs around work fairly regularly.





Visitor Videos

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Other Videos

  Red-Tailed Hawk

Uploaded on Nov 22, 2006

A short close up movie of Samantha a Red-Tailed Hawk and Kent Mahaffey. Berwick Productions.

Thank you for your support in caring for our birds.

  Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis

Uploaded on Mar 7, 2011

The Red-tailed Hawk occupies a wide range of habitats and altitudes, including deserts, grasslands, coniferous and deciduous forests, tropical rainforests, agricultural fields and urban areas. It lives throughout the North American continent, except in areas of unbroken forest or the high arctic. It is legally protected in Canada, Mexico and the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

This is probably the most common hawk in North America. If you've got sharp eyes you'll see several individuals on almost any long car ride, anywhere. Red-tailed Hawks soar above open fields, slowly turning circles on their broad, rounded wings. Other times you'll see them atop telephone poles, eyes fixed on the ground to catch the movements of a vole or a rabbit, or simply waiting out cold weather before climbing a thermal updraft into the sky.

  Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo Jamaicensis)

Uploaded on Jan 28, 2010

Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo Jamaicensis)

* Family: Accipitridae,
* Genus: Buteo,
* Species: B. jamaicensis,
* Class: Aves,
* Type: Bird,
* Diet: Carnivore,
* Average life span in the wild: 21 years,
* Size: Body, 18 to 26 in (45 to 65 cm); wingspan, 3.8 to 4.3 (1.1 to 1.3 m),
* Weight: 24.3 to 51.5 oz (690 to 1,460 g),

** Did you know? The red-tailed hawk is displaying an aggressive posture when it holds its body and head upright while its feathers are standing erect.

More info:

  Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) in HD

Uploaded on Jun 25, 2010

Red Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) in a raining day in Watertown, MA

  Red Tailed Hawk Catches Squirrel and Eats It

Published on Jan 6, 2014

Texas Red Tailed Hawk stalks, pursues and eats a large Fox Squirrel on January 5, 2014 during very cold weather for Texas and high winds. Hawks are carnivores (meat eaters) that belong to the category of birds known as raptors -- birds of prey. They have strong, hooked beaks; their feet have three toes pointed forward and one turned back; and their claws, or talons, are long, curved and very sharp. Prey is killed with the long talons and, if it is too large to swallow whole, it is torn to bite-sized pieces.

The red-tailed hawk is a most opportunistic hunter. Its diet is varied, but there is conclusive evidence now that 85 to 90 % is composed of small rodents, with rabbits, snakes and lizards included. Like all hawks, its talons are its main weapons.





Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this bird.

Dan W. Andree
April 2018

Location: Mn.

It was singing perched next to a grassy region. I have noticed a slight increase of the Eastern Meadow Lark due to a few more grassy or meadow like areas for them to live. Very nice sight to see and real pleasant to hear it sing.

Red-tailed Hawk

Dan W. Andree

Location: Norman Co. Mn.

In this photo you can see the rusty or reddish brown tail.

Red-tailed Hawk

Dan W. Andree
October 2016

Location: Rural Norman Co. Mn.

Immature Red-tailed Hawk in Flight.

Red-tailed Hawk

Wayne Rasmussen

Location: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Black Dog Preserve Unit

Black Dog Preserve is located on the south side of the Minnesota River in Burnsville. This hawk caught my attention on a cold winter day.

Red-tailed Hawk

Wayne Rasmussen

Location: Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

Red-tailed Hawk






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