photographs by Douglas Herr
Accipitridae: Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

01 February 2021
Yolo County California
Red-tailed Hawk
19 December 2019
Yolo County California
Red-tailed Hawk
25 November 2019
Colusa County California
Red-tailed Hawk
04 October 2019
Marin County California
Red-tailed Hawk
05 February 2018
Glenn County California
Red-tailed Hawk
03 June 2017
Red-tailed Hawk
14 January 2017
Glenn County California
Red-tailed Hawk
06 December 2015
Yolo County California
Red-tailed Hawk
12 November 2015
Glenn County California
Red-tailed Hawk
24 September 2015
Marin County California
Red-tailed Hawk Red-tailed Hawk
02 May 2015
captive
Red-tailed Hawk
11 November 2012
Glenn County California
Red-tailed Hawk
May 2011
California Foundation for Birds of Prey
Red-tailed Hawk
April 2011
Red-tailed Hawk Red-tailed Hawk
October 2009
Red-tailed Hawk Red-tailed Hawk
January 2004
Red-tailed Hawk
Glenn County California
Red-tailed Hawk
1983
Kern County California
Red-tailed Hawk

Field identification tips: a large raptor with a wingspan ranging from about 45" to 53", the plumage of Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) is highly variable, from very pale to chocolate brown. The brick-red tail of most adult plumages is an unmistakable field mark but immature B. jamaicensis and the Harlan's race adults have a brown barred tail. Look for the Buteo shape with dark patagial marks (the leading edge of the underside of the wing); no other North American Buteo has this feature. On most plumages this species also has a band of streaks across the belly but this can be very pale on some of the eastern birds, or obscured by dark overall plumage in the darkest races. Younger birds have yellow eyes, which darken as the bird matures. Sexes are similar with females averaging larger than males.

Typical range: Common and widespread over most of North America from the boreal forests of the north through much of Mexico and the Caribbean Islands. The northernmost populations migrate to warmer climates for the winter while many birds are year-round residents of the temperate zones.

Habitat: A bird of open country: fields, mountains, parks, open forests, deserts. Often seen circling overhead on columns of rising air, or perched on utility poles, fenceposts or the tops of trees in open country.

all photographs Copyright (C) Douglas Herr
last updated 07 January 2022