Red-tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis

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  • Red-tailed Hawk |  Photo: David Merrett
  • Red-tailed Hawk |  Photo: David Merrett
  • Red-tailed Hawk |  Photo: David Merrett
  • Red-tailed Hawk |  Photo: David Merrett by v8.6m

Red-tailed Hawk Photo Gallery

Basic Information






Red and tailed Hawks can grow to more than 26 inches in length.


18+ years in the wild


Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) facts, habitat, range, hawk pictures and bird watching tips to help you identify the bird of prey.


Red-tailed Hawks primarily prey on small mammals but will also eat other birds, reptiles and carrion.





Nest Placement


Number of Offspring

1–5 Eggs

Egg Description

Buff White blotched with brown or purple

Condition at Hatching

Feeble, tiny

Social Status



1.5-3.5 ft

Observation Tips

Very common

What does the Red-tailed Hawk look like?

Adult Red-Tailed Hawks are large raptors that have brown heads, backs, wings, and reddish tails. Their breasts are white streaked with brown. Western Hawks tend to be darker in color and the species as a whole varies geographically. Juveniles look similar to adults except the tail is an off white.

Red-tailed Hawk Habitat

Open Forests

Red-tailed Hawk Facts

Female Red-Tailed Hawks are larger than males. Monogamous, pairs tend to mate for several breeding seasons, laying an average of 3 eggs per season. Red-Tailed Hawks are very territorial; females tend to defend the nesting area, while males tend to defend territory boundaries. Adult hawks make a horse scream that is often described as sounding like a steam whistle. Their diet consists mainly of small rodents. They are also known to cache food. Red-Tailed Hawks have expanded their range in the last century. Scientists believe this is likely due to an increase in patchy forests.

Red-tailed Hawk Distribution

See also