The Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) is a medium-sized hawk. This bird is sometimes confused with the widespread Red-tailed Hawk. Red-shouldered Hawks are permanent residents throughout most of their range, though northern birds do migrate, mostly to central Mexico. The main conservation threat to the widespread species is deforestation.
Males are 38 to 58 cm (15 to 23 in) long and weigh on average 550 g (1.21 lb). Females are slightly larger at 47 to 61 cm (19 to 24 in) in length and a mean weight of 700 g (1.5 lb). Adults have brownish heads, reddish chests, and pale bellies with reddish bars. Their tails, which are quite long by Buteo standards, are marked with narrow white bars. Red “shoulders” are visible when the birds are perched. These Hawks’ upper parts are dark with pale spots, and they have long yellow legs. Western birds may appear more red, while Florida birds are generally paler. [Wikipedia]
Whether wheeling over a swamp forest or whistling plaintively from a riverine park, a Red-shouldered Hawk is typically a sign of tall woods and water. It’s one of our most distinctively marked common hawks, with barred reddish-peachy underparts and a strongly banded tail. In flight, translucent crescents near the wingtips help to identify the species at a distance. These forest hawks hunt prey ranging from mice to frogs and snakes. [All About Birds]
Red-shouldered Hawk Facts [All About Birds]
- Although the American Crow often mobs the Red-shouldered Hawk, sometimes the relationship is not so one-sided. They may chase each other and try to steal food from each other. They may also both attack a Great Horned Owl and join forces to chase the owl out of the hawk’s territory.
- The Great Horned Owl often takes nestling Red-shouldered Hawks, but the hawk occasionally turns the tables. While a Red-shouldered Hawk was observed chasing a Great Horned Owl, its mate took a young owl out of its nest and ate it.
- By the time they are five days old, nestling Red-shouldered Hawks can shoot their feces over the edge of their nest. Bird poop on the ground is a sign of an active nest.
- The oldest-known Red-shouldered Hawk was a female, and at least 25 years, 10 months old when she was recaptured and re-released during banding operations in California in 2000. She had been banded in the same state in 1974.