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Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamiacensis)

Red-tailed hawk
Red-tailed hawk
Personal information
The Zoo is home to one male red-tailed hawk, Eric. He was born in 1992 and arrived at the Zoo in 2011. The red-tailed hawk is a medium-sized bird of prey. Their head is distinguished by a hooked beak and supraorbital ridge over the eyes. The red-tailed hawk averages between 22 to 25 inches in length with a weight somewhere in the range of 36 to 43 ounces. Females are larger than males.

Status in the wild
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Least concern.

Red-tailed hawks are widespread and the most common hawk throughout North America. In Alaska and Canada, they migrate to avoid severe winters, with migration peaking in October/November. Habitats vary but include rural and urban areas that contain woods, open country, deserts and mountains.

Red-tailed hawks feed mostly on small- to medium-sized mammals such as voles, squirrels, rabbits and hares. They rarely take (but have been observed consuming) birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, large insects and carrion.

  • Red-tailed hawks may live about 25 years in captivity.
  • Red-tailed hawks are monogamous and may mate for life.
  • These diurnal hawks are primary solitary but will be social during breeding season and during migration.