They are called red-tailed hawks for their brick-colored tails, but there are 14 subspecies of various colorations, not all of them have this characteristic. They are large, sharp-taloned birds.
Red-tailed hawks occupy just about every type of open habitat on the continent, including deserts, grasslands, scrublands, roadsides, fields and pastures, parks, woodlands and even Mexican tropical rainforests. Mammals make up the bulk of their food: voles, mice rabbits, wood rats, snowshoe hares, jackrabbits and ground squirrels. They will also eat pheasants, starlings, blackbirds, as well as snakes and carrion. Their prey varies in size anywhere from less than an ounce to more than 5 lbs.
Red-tailed hawks are solitary except when they are mated, when mated they are monogamous for life. Both sexes incubate the eggs and feed the young from the time they hatch until they leave the nest about six weeks later.
Meet our Residents
- Red-tailed hawks can spot a mouse from 100 ft. high in the air - the equivalent of a 10 story building!
- Mated pairs will build a stick nest high above the ground, and will return to use that same nest year after year, adding more sticks to make it bigger and bigger.
- They have a thrilling, raspy scream that sounds exactly like a raptor should sound; at least, that’s what Hollywood directors seem to think, because whenever a hawk or eagle appears onscreen, no matter what species, the shrill cry on the soundtrack is almost always a red-tailed hawk!
Status In The Wild
Protected by the Migratory Species Act, not threatened.