Buteo jamaicensishawk rt 4


  • Accipitridae


  • Wild: 21 years


  • Length: 17 to 26 inches; females tend to be larger.
  • Wingspan: 19 - 26 inches
  • Weight: 2 - 4 lbs


  • They are found all over North America, in Central America, and in the West Indies.


  • The red-tail is commonly seen in both rural and suburban areas that have woodlands, prairies, grasslands, or swamps.
  • Prefer open areas, such as fields or deserts, with high perching places nearby from which they can watch for prey. They often perch on telephone poles and take advantage of the open spaces along the roadside.


  • Wild: Mice, rabbits, snakes, birds, and insects
  • Zoo: Frozen thawed rats


  • Red-tailed hawks are monogamous and may mate for life.
  • They make stick nests high above the ground, in which the female ays one to five eggs each year. 
  • Both sexes incubate the eggs for four to five weeks, and feed the young from the time they hatch until they leave the next about six weeks later.

Red-tailed Hawks & Humans

  • Have adapted well to urban life, using our tall buildings and monuments as perches and even our long strips of highways as hunting grounds.
  • Hawks are not game animals, so they can't be hunted. Anyone killing a red-tailed hawk is subject to a large fine.

Fun Facts

hawk rt 1

  • The red-tailed hawk has a sharp, surved beak that's used to tear its prey into pieces for eating. The bird has great eyesight, which helps it see prey on the ground while its flying high overhead.
  • Red-tailed hawks are often seen soaring in wide circles high over a field. 
  • When flapping, their wingbeats are heavy. In high winds they may face into the wind and hover w ithout flapping, eyes fixed on the ground.
  • They attach in a slow, controlled dive with legs outstretched -- very different from a falcon's stoop.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Appendix II
hawk rt 2


  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
  3. Red-tailed Hawk: Minnesota Department of Nautral Resources www.dnr.state.mn.us/birds/redtailedhawk.html
  4. All About Birds: The Cornell Lab or Ornithology www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/red-tailed_hawk/id
  5. Red-Tailed Hawk: National Geographic animals.nationalgeographic.com/birds/red-tailed-hawk/

**All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.