Red-shouldered Hawk

Buteo lineatus (lined or marked with lines)
Prepared by: 
Ann Walton
  • Length: 17 – 24 inches    
  • Wingspan: 36 – 50 inches    
  • Weight: males 550gm, females 700 gm

This hawk has the typical broad tail and wings of a buteo. Male and female plumage is similar, with brown back, rufous-red shoulders and black and white banded wings. Also banded black and white. Immatures are brown above with lighter, streaked underparts.

 

Subspecies: 
Five recognized; local subspecies is B.l. lineatus.
Distribution: 
Eastern North America from southern Canada to Florida Keys. An adjunct population from southern Oregon to northern Baja California.
Habitat: 
Mature mixed woodlands with nearby water and clearings. Has adapted somewhat to urban areas.
Feeding: 
Varied prey base includes small mammals, reptiles, birds (including nestlings ), amphibians and insects.
Breeding: 
Regional breeding from March-June, with March-April in the Great Lakes area. Solitary. In the Eastern North America, the stick nests, lined with greenery are placed 20-60 feet above the ground in deciduous (90%) trees. Eucalyptus is favored in southern California, while cabbage palmettos are used in Florida. Clutch is 2-5 eggs. Some females start to breed after one year, but most start after two.
Movements: 
The northern populations move a few hundred miles to the south, while the central U.S. birds remain as residents. Spring movement starts in late February through March. Fall migration occurs from mid-September through October.
Status: 
Not globally threatened, but population is on a slight decline due to the loss ofhabitat. It is not yet comfortable enough with the urban setting to reverse this. However, the western range is expanding further into Oregon, so hopefully, the eastern range may expand.