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RED-TAILED HAWK

Scientific Name: Buteo jamaicensis
Order
Falconiformes (diurnal birds of prey)

Family
Accipitridae (hawks, eagles, vultures)

Habitat & Range
Red-tailed hawks can be found throughout the United States, Southern Canada and Central America. Birds in the northernmost latitudes may migrate south for the winter. The red-tailed hawk lives in coniferous and deciduous forests as well as tropical forests. They also inhabit open areas such as swamps, deserts, tundra, plains and agricultural fields.

Identification
Red-tailed hawks measure between 18 and 25 inches in length, and possess wingspans of up to 4 feet. They can weigh as much as 3 pounds. The birds are dark brown with occasional shades of gray on the back. The belly is often cream-colored scattered with dark spotting. The tail is a rusty red color, hence the name.

Diet
Red-tailed hawks hunt small rodents and reptiles. They will sometimes prey on fish. They use their powerful sharp talons to grip and kill their prey.

Reproduction & Lifespan
Breeding occurs between late March and early May. Courtship often consists of extravagant aerial displays performed between the male and female. Mated pairs will claim territories of up to 2 square miles. The male will patrol the territory while the female is will remain behind and aggressively defend the nest area. Mated pairs will remain monogamous for life. Red-tailed hawks have life spans of up to 20 years.
 
 
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