Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Red-shouldered Hawk photo


Adult: (shown) comparable in size to the American Crow, sexes similar in color; Tail: medium in length, 4 wide black bands separated by thin white bands; Breast, belly, and flanks: buff colored with heavy horizontal rust barring; Wings: wide, rounded, with red-shoulder patch above and white crescent on outer edge; Head: buff to brown; may have crest present; Eye: brown.

Immature: Breast, belly, and flanks: white with vertical rust barring and dark brown splotches; Wings: dark primaries, lighter banding than adults; Tail: wide brown bars separated with light brown to gray bars; Eye: brown.


Mature deciduous forests and wood lots, often associated with riparian systems. Have established territories in suburban areas where adequate nest trees are available. Adults generally nest in the main fork of deciduous tree species > 20" dbh. Nests are 15-28" in diameter; active nests are usually lined with fresh green tree sprigs.


Locally common; uncommon statewide. State listed Threatened since 1979.

Red-shouldered Hawk range map
Red-Shouldered Hawk nest


sound file Audio recordings donated by John Feith. Additional bird call recordings available at

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