Red-Tailed Hawk
Scientific classification
Kingdom: animalia
Phylum: chordata
Class: aves
Order: falconiformes
Family: accipitridae
Genus: buteo
Species: buteo jamaicensis
The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a medium-large sized raptor. It is a powerful hunter and one of the fastest

birds in the world, capable of diving at 129 miles per hour. It is fairly common, spread all across America. It is a year round resident in the south eastern U.S.


The Red-tailed Hawk is about 19 to 21 inches long with a 54 to 58 inch wingspan. Its underbelly is typically dark tan with its small dark brown feathers. The underside of its wings are of a similar tone. The primaries and secondaries are both barred with brown stripes. It has a rust toned tail with faint clay brown stripes in which its name derives. On the top side of its wings, it is typically a light brown or a dark sooty brown. It has either dark red or brown eyes. It has a distinctively handsome face with slight whisker marks, similar to that of a falcon. Its legs are yellow with large talons. they are about 3 quarters of an inch long. It can weigh up to 4 pounds. Its wings are long broad and has heavily fingered tips. That signifies a good soaring platform. It has a long, broad tail. That shows that it agile and able to show a quick turn of speed.


This bird has a basic hawk attitude. It is shy around people in rural areas but in urban areas, It has been known to dive out of the sky on a passer-by but only when they aren't looking. It is mainly due to nesting. It is commonly attacked by smaller birds. Depending on the size, it wont fight back. If it is another hawk species, it will invert and bear its talons. If it were a passerine type birds such as crows, ravens, magpies, thrushes and swallows it will simply take the punishment or make a high speed getaway.


A very versatile hunter, it will drop out the sky at break neck at speed, swing its talons at the last minute and skewer its prey, usually killing it on impact. It eats any thing from carrion to deer fawns. Its primary prey is rodents but it will not hesitate to take on bird prey. However, smaller birds can often evade the red-tail hawk when being chased.

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