The White-tailed Hawk (Geranoaetus albicaudatus) is a medium-sized raptor that inhabits various regions in the Americas. This hawk measures approximately 18-24 inches in length, with a wingspan of 42-49 inches. It weighs between 22-41 ounces, with females being slightly larger than males.
The White-tailed Hawk is easily distinguished from other raptors by its plumage. The upperparts are dark gray, while the underparts are white with fine dark barring. The tail is white with a broad black band towards the end, which makes it easy to identify this hawk when it’s perched or in flight. Additionally, the eyes are bright yellow, and the bill is black and sharply hooked.
White-tailed Hawks are non-migratory birds and are generally found in their breeding range throughout the year. They breed in parts of the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. They prefer open habitats, including grasslands, savannas, and shrublands, and are often seen perched on fence posts, trees, or utility poles.
These hawks are primarily active during the day and feed on a variety of prey, including small mammals like rodents, rabbits, and hares, as well as reptiles and birds. They hunt by perching on a high vantage point and scanning the surrounding area for potential prey.
White-tailed Hawks are monogamous and breed during the winter months. They build large stick nests in trees, shrubs, or cacti, usually located on a high point overlooking open habitat. The female lays two to three eggs, and both parents take turns incubating them for about 30 days. The young fledge at around 50 days of age.
Overall, the White-tailed Hawk is a striking and easily recognizable bird of prey that is found in various habitats throughout the Americas. Its distinctive plumage, non-migratory behavior, and preference for open habitats make it a fascinating species to observe and study.