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Birds are Amazing: The Red-Tailed Hawk

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Height: 18 - 26 in.

Wingspan: 3.5 - 4.25 ft

Weight: 1.5 - 2.5 lbs.

Lifespan: Up to 21 years

The red-tailed hawk is a magnificent bird of prey that is found throughout North America. With its striking red tail feathers and an impressive wingspan, it is one of the most iconic raptors in the region.

Appearance and Characteristics

Red-tailed hawks are large birds, with an average wingspan of four feet and a body length of up to 2.5 feet. They are primarily brown with a white underbelly and, as their name suggests, a distinctive red tail. Adults have a dark brown band across their belly and pale brown or cream-colored feathers on their head.

Red-tailed hawks are incredibly powerful birds, able to fly at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour when diving for prey. They have sharp talons and a sharp, curved beak, which they use to catch and kill their prey.

Habitat and Distribution

Red-tailed hawks can be found throughout North America, from Canada to Mexico. They are particularly common in open country and can be found in a variety of habitats, including deserts, grasslands, forests, and urban areas.


Red-tailed hawks are opportunistic hunters and feed on a wide range of prey, including small mammals such as rodents and rabbits, birds, snakes, and even fish. They typically hunt from perches and soar high in the sky, scanning the ground for potential prey.


Red-tailed hawks are solitary birds, with the exception of breeding pairs. They are territorial and will defend their nests from other birds and animals. During courtship, they perform an impressive aerial display, soaring high in the sky and performing acrobatic maneuvers.


Red-tailed hawks are not considered a threatened species, although they have faced some threats in the past, such as habitat loss and hunting. Today, they are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits the killing, capturing, or selling of migratory birds.

The Red-tailed hawk is a powerful and majestic bird of prey that is an important part of North America's ecosystem. Their striking appearance and impressive hunting skills make them one of the most recognizable raptors in the region. While they are not currently threatened, it is important that we continue to protect their habitats and ensure that they remain a part of our natural heritage for generations to come.

The photographs contained in this website may not be reproduced without the express consent of Shutter Bison.

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