- The red-tailed hawk is about 55 centimetres (22 inches) long.
- Well known and fairly common, the adult red-tailed hawk can be identified in the field by its uniformly coloured tail —
red above and light pink below — and a broken dark abdominal band.
- The upperparts are dark grey-brown streaked and barred with white, brown and black.
- The under-parts are light cream streaked with brown.
- The tail may or may not have dark bands.
- Wide variations in plumage color are common throughout its range and cause confusion even among experts.
- Red-tailed hawks are found from Panama to the tree line in northern Canada and Alaska.
- Breeding grounds comprise the northern half of this range, and wintering generally takes place in the southern portions
from the southern states to Central America.
- In Alberta, this hawk prefers the parkland and boreal forest regions, but may occasionally nest in wooded areas on the prairies.
- Prey for this species includes small rodents and rabbits.
- Although feeding is done in the open, a red-tailed hawk rarely hovers in search of food. Usually this bird perches on top
of high poles or trees, then swoops down on its prey.
- Nests are usually built close to the tops of prominent trees.
- Normally two to four eggs are laid each season.
The red-tailed hawk is classified as Secure in the General Status of Alberta Wild Species
- Like all birds of prey in Alberta, the red-tailed hawk is protected by the provincial Wildlife
Act and classified as a non-game species.
Updated: Jan 8, 2014