Size and Shape: 20" with a wingspan of 48". Large hawk with expansive, rounded wings and short, wide tail.
Color: Rich brown above and pale below, dark line on the leading edge of underwing, from neck to wrist, dark head, streaked band across belly, reddish tail.
Behavior: Hunt for various prey, mostly from perch, swooping to capture prey in talons. Also soars, sometimes "kites" in stationary hover in the wind. They will take carrion. Protects territory year-round, calling at intruders.
Habitat: Open habitats, edges - highly adaptable. Fields, freeway corridors, clearcuts, open woods, urban areas, nesting on buildings.
Field Marks: Large hawk. Long, broad, rounded wings. Reddish tail with a thin black band near the tip. Mottled white shoulder patches.
Songs and Calls: Listen here.
Fun Facts: Whenever you hear the sound of a raptor in a film, it`s usually a red-tailed hawk because of their recognizable cry. Even if another species is shown!
To spot a red tailed hawk, keep an eye out along open fields. While you may see them soaring overhead in slow circles, you`re most likely to find them atop fence posts, telephone poles, or trees, as they spend most of their active hours perched.
Scientific Name: Buteo jamaicensis
Photo by Mick Thompson