California Raptor Center

Red-shouldered Hawk

Scientific Name: Buteo lineatus(Buteo is Latin for hawk, lineatus is Latinfor ‘striped’ a reference to the tail).

Size: Length: 15-19in - Wingspan: 37-42in

Weight: Female: 643+/-96.2g (~1.4+/-0.21lb) - Male: 475+/-81g (~1+/-0.18lb)

Lifespan: Their average lifespan in the wild is 2 years, and in captivity they may reach 19 years or more.

ID: In a perched adult, the chest is bright rust and noticeably barred. The bird's shoulders are also rust. Perched juveniles have a cream-colored chest. In flight, both juveniles and adults show a bright white, crescent-shaped "panel" toward the end of the wings. The tail and wings have distinctive black and white bands. Juveniles tend to be browner while the adults have red underparts.

Hunting: They hunt by sitting and waiting on perches.

Prey: They tend to eat reptiles, amphibians, and birds. 

Breeding: Red-shouldered Hawks are monogamous and highly territorial. They build large stick nests in trees. Females lay 3 to 4 eggs each breeding season, which extends from April to July. It takes, on average, 33 days for the eggs to hatch, 6 weeks for the chicks to fledge, and 17 weeks for the chicks to become fully independent.

Range: They are partial migrants, meaning that the birds in the far north of their range migrate to warmer climates in the winter while the birds in temperate climates will live in the same area year round. 

Status: They are not currently listed as endangered.