A Field Guide to the Prairie

Red-tailed Hawk Red-tailed Hawk
Buteo jamaicensis
Size: 48-64 cm (19-25 in.)
Habitat/Range: Not a bird of the deep woods, it is usually found in grasslands or marsh-shrub habitats. The red-tailed hawks' breeding range extends from Central Alaska through Canada and across the entire United States, south through Mexico and into Central America. In winter, many of the northern birds move south, however, red-tails can commonly be seen as far north as Minnesota each winter.
Eating Habits: Red-tails feed on a wide variety of prey. Mammals commonly make up a large part of their diet including everything from small mice to rabbits and hares. They will also take medium sized birds, and reptiles such as lizards and snakes.

A large hawk, usually weighing between 2 and 4 pounds. This species shows a great deal of individual variation in plumage. The adult has a reddish-colored tail that may or may not have a black terminal bar. The underside of the bird is usually light with a dark belly band, and a cinnamon wash on the neck and chest.

On the Prairie Field Guide Index

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