Red-tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis

Summary 4

The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)is a large (19-25 inches) hawk, the Red-tailed Hawk is most easily identified by its dark brown back, pale underparts, and rusty-red tail. Male and female Red-tailed Hawks are similarly plumaged in all seasons; however, like most species of raptors, females are larger than males.

Red-tailed hawks have the most recognizable call because Hollywood uses their call to represent any raptor in the world. You can hear an example here:

Where on campus? 5

Very commonly seen near the Student Center, Gym and Athletic Fields. We appear to have a nesting pair that nests at the football stadium in the stadium lights.

Habitat 5

This species inhabits open woodland, shrubby fields, and urban areas if food is available.

Life HIstory 5

Nesting Monogamous. Mated pairs will build a nest together and often reuse the nest year after year in the crotch of a tree, the side of a tall building or even in stadium lights (as they do on campus). They produce one brood/year and chicks are semialtricial.

Feeding Red-tailed Hawks primarily eat small mammals, including lemmings, mice, and voles, but may eat small birds and reptiles.

Distribution 5

The Red-tailed Hawk breeds from Alaska and northern Canada south through the United States, the West Indies, Mexico, and parts of Central America. (EOL)

Migration 5

In winter, northerly-breeding populations migrate south to the southern half of the U.S.Southerly-breeding populations migrate short distances, if at all (EOL)

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) sarbhloh, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND),
  2. (c) Rhys A., some rights reserved (CC BY),
  3. (c) David Illig, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  4. Adapted by gillian360 from a work by (c) Unknown, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  5. (c) gillian360, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)

More Info