The Red-Tailed hawk is the most widespread and familiar large hawk in North America. Its bulky and broad-wings are designed for effortless soaring. They are commonly seen perched on roadside poles or sailing over fields and wooded areas. Adults are usually recognized by the reddish-brown tail while the rest of their feathers can be quite variable: Western Red-tail hawks can range from blackish to rufous-brown to nearly white.
Feeding Behavior: The red-tailed hawk does most of its hunting by watching from a high perch swooping down to capture prey in its talons. They also hunt by flying over fields while watching for prey below. Small prey are typically carried to the perch while large prey are often partly eaten on ground.
Eggs: 2-3 typically, sometimes 4, rarely do you see 1 or 5 eggs. Whitish in color blotched with brown. Incubation is by both parents and typically lasts 28-35 days.
Young: The female remains with the young most of the time during the first few weeks. The Male is tasked with bringing most of the food to the nest while the female tears it into small pieces to feed the young. After about 4-5 weeks, food is dropped in the nest and the young feed on it themselves. Young leave the nest about 6-7 weeks after hatching, but are not capable of strong flight for another 2 weeks or more. Fledglings occasionally remain with parents for several more weeks.
Diet: Their diet varies but typically includes small mammals, birds and reptiles. Their diet varies with location and season. Mammals such as voles, rats, rabbits, and ground squirrels often major prey. They also eats many birds (up to size of pheasant) and reptiles, especially snakes. Sometimes, they eat bats, frogs, toads, insects and various other creatures.
Photo Credit: Jeanelle Majcen