Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Red-Tailed Hawk photo


Adult: approximately raven size; sexes similar in coloration patterns; Tail: short, broad with distinct red or rufous colored; Throat: white; Wings, Head and Back: usually dark brown; Underside of Wings: cream with dark brown patagial patch; Upper Breast: usually white or solid light-colored; Eye: brown.

Immature: similar to adult; Head, face, back and upper wings: mottled brown with white showing through; Underside of Wings: grayish with abundant dark spots; Tail: gray brown with 7-9 narrow dark brown bars; Eye: yellow or straw-colored.


Generally found near forest and woodlot edge, commonly occurring near agriculture and grassland habitats. Nests: large 20-36" in diameter in deciduous trees; will use snags. Typically observed perched on telephone poles or trees near open fields.


Summer and Winter: present Statewide, but most common in southern 2/3 of Wisconsin.

Red-Tailed Hawk range map


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

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