The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is one of the most common hawks in North America, with a wingspan of up to 56 inches and a length of 18-25 inches. They have a distinctive rusty-red tail that can be seen during flight, making them easily recognizable in the sky. Red-tailed Hawks also have a dark brown body, with a lighter-colored chest and belly, and their wings are broad and rounded.
Adult Red-tailed Hawks typically weigh between 2 and 4 pounds, with females being larger than males. They have powerful talons and sharp, curved beaks that are well-suited for hunting their prey. These raptors primarily feed on small mammals such as rodents, rabbits, and squirrels, but they will also eat birds, reptiles, and insects.
Red-tailed Hawks are found throughout North America, from Alaska and Canada down to Mexico and Central America. They are typically resident birds, meaning they do not migrate, but some populations in the northern parts of their range will move south for the winter. In addition, some Red-tailed Hawks from western North America will migrate to the central and eastern parts of the continent during the winter months.
When it comes to nesting, Red-tailed Hawks are known for their large stick nests that are often located in the forks of trees or on cliffs. These nests can be several feet wide and are built up over time by both the male and female birds. The female typically lays 1-4 eggs per clutch, which hatch after about a month of incubation. The young birds will fledge at around 6 weeks old and will continue to be fed by their parents for several more weeks as they learn to hunt on their own.
Overall, the Red-tailed Hawk is an impressive and adaptable bird that is well-suited to a variety of habitats across North America. Their striking appearance and impressive hunting skills make them a favorite among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.