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Red-tailed Hawk
Buteo jamaicensis

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Alaskan Red-tailed Hawk (alascensis), Central American Red-tailed Hawk (costaricensis), Chicken Hawk, Cuban Red-tailed Hawk (solitudinus), Eastern Red-tailed Hawk (borealis), Florida Red-tailed Hawk (umbrinus), Fuerte's Red-tailed Hawk (fuertesi), Harlan's Hawk (harlani), Jamaican Red-tailed Hawk (jamaicensis), Red-tailed Buzzard, Western Red-tailed Hawk (calurus).

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Buteo jamaicensis
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Distribution: Nearctic/Neotropical. Breeds throughout most of North America from west central ALASKA east to Nova Scotia south to NICARAGUA and in the West Indies, with endemic races on several Caribbean islands south to NEVIS; winters south to PANAMA and COLOMBIA. more....

Subspecies: 13 races. B. j. alascensis: Southeastern ALASKA and coastal British Columbia; B. j. borealis: North America east of the Great Plains of the United States and Canada; B. j. calurus: Western North America west of the Great Basin; winters south to GUATEMALA and occasionally to NICARAGUA, COSTA RICA, PANAMA, and (rarely) COLOMBIA; B. j. costaricensis: COSTA RICA and western PANAMA (east to the Canal Zone); B. j. fuertesi: Southern UNITED STATES (southern Texas) to northern MEXICO; B. j. fumosus: Tres Marias Islands, off west-central MEXICO; B. j. hadropus: Highlands of central MEXICO to Oaxaca (west of Isthmus of Tehuantepec); B. j. harlani: Interior of ALASKA, southwestern Yukon, and northern British Columbia; B. j. jamaicensis: JAMAICA, PUERTO RICO, and HISPANIOLA east to northern LESSER ANTILLES; B. j. kemsiesi: Southern MEXICO (Oaxaca, east of Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Chiapas) to northern NICARAGUA; B. j. soccoroensis: Revillagigedo Islands (Socorro Island), off western MEXICO. B. j. solitudinus: BAHAMAS and CUBA; B. j. umbrinus: UNITED STATES (Florida). more....

Taxonomy: Forms a superspecies with B. ventralis (with which it may be conspecific) and perhaps with B. buteo, B. oreophilus, and B. brachypterus. more....

Movements: Partial migrant (Bildstein 2006). Northern populations are migratory. more....

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in a great variety of habits, preferring open and semi-open areas for foraging and stands of trees for perching and nesting. For a large hawk, this species can be remarkably tolerant of human activities, and pairs nest along noisy freeways in many large U.S. cities. In western North America, nesting is in riparian habitats and canyons and draws with adjacent grasslands or agricultural fields. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on a wide variety of small vertebrates, particularly rodents. more....

Breeding: Builds a bulky stick nest placed in a tall deciduous or coniferous tree, or on a powerline pole, cliff face, or, rarely, a building. The same nest is often used in successive years. Clutch size is 2-5 eggs, usually 3 or 4 in most parts of the range. more....

Conservation: One of the most common and widely distributed birds of prey. Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International (2009). more....

Important References: 
Bent, A.C. 1937. Life histories of North American birds of prey. Order
  Falconiformes (Part 1). U.S. National Museum Bulletin 167.
Fitch,H.S., F. Swenson, and D.F. Tillotson. 1946. Behavior and food habits
  of the Red-tailed Hawk. Condor 48:205-257.
Lerner, H.R., and D.P. Mindell. 2005. Phylogeny of eagles, Old World
  vultures, and other Accipitridae based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37:327-346.
Moritsch, M.Q. 1983. Photographic guide for aging nestling Red-tailed
  Hawks. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Boise,
Preston, C.R. Red-tailed Hawk. Wild Bird Guides. Stackpole Books,
  Mechanicsburg, PA.
Preston, C.R., and R.D. Beane. 1993. The Red-tailed Hawk. In A. Poole and
  F. Gill (eds.), The Birds of North America no. 52. Academy of Natural
  Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and American Ornithologists' Union, Washington,
Santana, E.C., and S.A. Temple. 1988. Breeding biology and diet of
  Red-tailed Hawks in Puerto Rico. Biotropica 20:151-160.
White, C.M. 1994. Red-tailed Hawk. P. 184 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and
  J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World
  vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Sites of Interest:
Red-tailed Hawk photos.

Allen, Deborah
Andersen, David
Bechard, Marc J.
Bedrosian, Bryan
Bildstein, Keith
Bloom, Peter
Cayo Cervantes, Biol. Luis Alberto
Fry, Michael
Gallardo Del Angel, Julio Cesar
Goodrich, Laurie
Hall, Wendy
Kochert, Michael N.
Lincer, Jeff
McIntyre, Carol
Moore, Stan
Morrison, Joan
Pagel, Joel (Jeep)
Preston, Charles
Ramos, Ernesto
Smith, Jeff
Speiser, Robert
Waks, V.J.
Wiley, James

Last modified: 8/13/2009

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 13 Jun. 2021

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