Red Tailed Hawk Facts
- Scientific Name: Buteo jamaicensis
- Classification: Aves
- Family: Accipitriformes
- Habitat: Forests, fields
- Diet: Carnivore
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Size: 18 to 26 inches
- Speed: 20-40 MPH, 120 MPH when diving
- Lifespan: 21 years
- Other Name: Chicken Hawk
- Diet: Red Tailed Hawks Eat Many Small Animals
- Reproduction: Red Tailed Hawks Mate for Life
- Hunting: Red Tailed Hawks Are Built for Hunting
- Symbolism: Red Tailed Hawks Are Sacred in Native American Cultures
- Habitat: Red Tailed Hawks Can Live Almost Anywhere
- Sounds: Red Tailed Hawks Are Very Vocal
- Senses: Red Tailed Hawks Have Amazing Eyesight
- Lifespan: Red Tailed Hawks Struggle to Make It to Adulthood
- Laws: Red Tailed Hawks Are Protected by Law
- Habitat: Red Tailed Hawks Are Important to the Ecosystem
- Red Tailed Hawks Don’t Have to Eat Every Day
- Females Are Larger than Males
- There Are Over 14 Species of Hawks
- Red Tailed Hawks Really Do Have Red Tails
- The Great Horned Owl Is the Red Tailed Hawk’s Biggest Foe
Red Tailed Hawks Eat Many Small Animals
Red tailed hawk facts show that the diet of this bird varies based on availability. They prefer rodents, which make up 85% of the bird’s diet. This includes different types of mice. Red tailed hawks also prey on gophers, chipmunks, squirrels, shrews and bats. They will also eat fish, insects and earthworms if the opportunity arises. In different habitats, the birds are known to feast on snakes and lizards. In rural areas, it is not unheard of for a red tailed hawk to prey on domestic cats and dogs.
Red Tailed Hawks Mate for Life
Once a red tailed hawk has reached the age of two, it is mature enough to find a mate. A male hawk will perform elaborate flying patterns to attract a female. Once a pair of hawks come together, they will stay together for life. They will build a nest together in which the female will tend to her eggs while the male brings her food.
Red Tailed Hawks Are Built for Hunting
Red tailed hawk facts show us that the birds possess powerful talons and beaks that are sharp enough to efficiently hunt their prey. Their feathers and wingspan size enable them to fly effortlessly and soar for long periods, giving them plenty of hunting time.
Red Tailed Hawks Are Sacred in Native American Cultures
Native American culture is often focused around symbolism and respect for animals. The red tailed hawk is considered sacred among Native Americans, and is respected throughout the community. The bird’s feathers are often a part of various ceremonies and rituals. The bird is believed to be connected to the spirit world.
Red Tailed Hawks Can Live Almost Anywhere
Red tailed hawks can be found in many different habitats. As long as there are wide and open spaces in which the birds can hunt, and areas raised from the ground for them to build a nest, a red tailed hawk can make a place home. Their habitat includes deserts, scrublands, grasslands, roadsides, fields, pastures, parks and even tropical rain forests.
Red Tailed Hawks Are Very Vocal
Red tailed hawks have a loud and piercing scream that can be recognized by many. They have different sounds for when they are flying and soaring. Different noises they make may show anger, offer warnings, or protect their territory, based on the situation. The cry is so intense that it is often used as a sound effect in movies.
Red Tailed Hawks Have Amazing Eyesight
Red tailed hawks fly and search for their prey from the sky. Their eyesight is so advanced that they are able to see a small rodent on the ground, even when it is 100 feet below them.
Red Tailed Hawks Struggle to Make It to Adulthood
Almost half of all red tailed hawks do not live to the age of one in the wild. The ones that do survive will typically live to be about 12 years old. Red tailed hawks in captivity can live almost 30 years.
Red Tailed Hawks Are Protected by Law
Federal and state laws prohibit the public from possessing, killing or capturing red tailed hawks. The birds are not considered to be endangered, and these strict laws are thought to be the reason for this.
Red Tailed Hawks Are Important to the Ecosystem
Red tailed hawks are commonly found around farms because of the open landscape that generally surrounds them. They are considered to be an important part of the food chain in these areas because they keep the populations of small mammals, such as rabbits, mice and moles, in control so that crops and farms won’t be overrun.
Red Tailed Hawks Don’t Have to Eat Every Day
Red tailed hawks have a crop, which is a pouch located halfway between their mouth and stomach. Food is stored here and then released as needed for nutrients and energy. If a large enough meal is consumed, the bird may be able to go without eating for a day or two.
Females Are Larger than Males
Red tailed hawks follow the same physical guidelines as raptors, where the female is larger than the male. The male bird weights an average of 2.3 pounds with a length of 24 inches, while the female weights an average of 4.4 pounds with a length of 26 inches.
There Are Over 14 Species of Hawks
Including the red tailed hawk, there are about 14 recognized species throughout North America. They are most popular in the United States, and spend the winters in southern Canada. They can also be found farther south in Central America, and even as far as the West Indies.
Red Tailed Hawks Really Do Have Red Tails
Red tailed hawk facts show that they are covered with brown feathers, varying in shade, and have a red tail. They have yellow feet and legs, and a beak that starts as a white or yellow color and ends with a sharp black point.
The Great Horned Owl Is the Red Tailed Hawk’s Biggest Foe
Red tailed hawks do not have many predators but they do compete with the great horned owl. The owl is larger, and will attack red tailed hawks to either take their food or their nests. The owls typically live in the same areas as the hawk.
Red Tailed Hawk Facts – Facts about Red Tailed Hawks Summary
Red tailed hawk facts show that this bird is built for hunting, and preys on whatever small animals exist near its habitat, which varies. Red tailed hawks are able to adapt to many different environments. They have incredible flying abilities and use this to attract mates to raise their young with, since they stay with one partner for life. The females are larger than the males but they both share similar physical characteristics.