Red-shouldered Hawk

Scientific Name:
Buteo lineatus
Population Status:
Least Concern
Body Length:
17-24 inches
Wingspan:
3-4 feet
Weight:
1 to 1-1/2 pounds

Did you know?

  • The Barred Owl is the nocturnal counterpart to the Red-shouldered Hawk. Both birds occupy the same range in the eastern United States, prefer the same moist woodland habitats, and eat similar animals. The hawk is active during the day, and the owl is active at night.
  • Buteo hawks are referred to as buzzards in other parts of the world. The name was mistakenly applied to vultures in North America by the early settlers.

Where they live

Red-shouldered Hawks occupy the eastern half of North America from southern Canada to Florida, as well as western California and Baja, Mexico.

Why they need our help

They are common throughout their range due to their ability to adapt to urban development. The population appears to be increasing at the north end of the range in the western United States.

What they eat

They seek a wide variety of prey, including voles, mice, shrews, birds, snakes, frogs, lizards, fish, crayfish, spiders, caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles, and earthworms. They hunt from a perch in a tree or on a fencepost, often near water.

Nest, eggs and young

Like most hawks, they build a stick nest in a tree. The nest is placed midway up the tree and is lined with leaves and lichens. The female lays 2-5 eggs that are incubated for 33 days. The young fledge about 45 days later and become adults at 2 years of age.

Photo gallery

Photos needed! If you are a photographer and would be willing to donate photos of a Red-shouldered Hawk for use on this site, please contact grin@peregrinefund.org

What makes a raptor a raptor?

Research Resources