Interesting Red-Tailed Hawk Facts That Will Amaze You!

There are a lot of different types of hawks, but the red-tailed hawk is one of the most common. These birds are found all over North America and can be seen in many areas year round.

If you want to learn more about these fascinating birds of prey, keep reading! In this article, we will explore some of the most interesting red-tailed hawk facts that will amaze you.

Interesting Red-tailed Hawk Facts

  • Red-tailed hawks are among the most common of all North American raptors.
  • They are most commonly seen soaring over open fields, woodland edges, marshes, and prairies.
  • They eat a wide variety of prey including rabbits, squirrels, pigeons, seagulls, mice, rats, snakes, lizards, amphibians and large insects such as grasshoppers.
  • Red-tailed hawks can grow up to a length of three feet.
  • Red-tailed hawks have a wingspan that ranges from 45 inches to 60 inches long.
  • They live throughout the United States and Canada, from Alaska to Mexico.
  • Red-tails live around 20 years on average, but one red-tail was recorded living almost 26 years.
  • Red-Tails have very keen eyesight, which they used to spot their prey while soaring high above ground level.
  • Red-tails usually mate for life and form lifelong partnerships with their mates.
  • They are often spotted soaring high up in the sky or sitting on top of a telephone pole.
  • The red-tailed hawk is a member of the buteo genus, which includes more than 55 species. The buteo genus belongs to the family Accipitridae and are commonly referred to as “true hawks.”
  • When this bird spots its prey it will dive at speeds of more than 120 mph.


The migration period for these birds is typically from October to April, with most of their time spent in November and December. They migrate southwards during this time frame, starting at higher altitudes before gradually descending to lower ones as they go further southward.

The average length of their migration ranges from 2500 miles (4000 km). The red-tailed hawk migration period and length varies depending on the location of the individual bird, but can be anywhere from two to five months long.

The range for these birds also varies widely as they migrate through many countries such as Canada, Mexico, and Central America.


Red-tailed Hawks typically put their nests in the crowns of tall trees where they have a commanding view of the landscape. They may also nest on a cliff ledge or on artificial structures such as window ledges and billboard platforms.

When a female red tail hawk gives birth, the female will usually give birth to one to five eggs and will stay with them for a few weeks.

Red-tail hawks are generally solitary birds, which means that they will not live together in flocks.

The male’s primary responsibility is to protect the female. In addition, he tends to build the nest, and help incubate the eggs until hatching. It is from the female that the young will receive food and care.


The population of Red-tailed hawks has been declining in recent years. A number of factors are suspected to be contributing to this decline, including: habitat loss and degradation, shooting and poisoning, illegal trapping for trade or trophies, and the use of insecticides.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is considering whether to list the red-tailed hawk on the endangered species list.


Hawks are known to be a highly territorial bird, so while you are out hiking or bird watching, they may become quite hostile if a particular type of hawk is near you. This makes it important to stay well away from them when they are in these situations.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far can Red-tailed Hawks see?

Red-tailed hawks have excellent vision, with a binocular range that extends about three miles. In comparison, humans can only see up to 2 miles away without using any form of magnification or imaging technology. A red-tail’s eyesight is so powerful that it is able to detect food from long distances, sometimes before the prey even knows it.

Why do Red-tailed Hawks scream when flying?

Studies show this screaming noise is actually an act of aggression or territoriality by the hawk, which means they’re telling other birds to stay away from their territory or nest area.

Where do Red-tailed Hawks sleep at night?

When it’s time to sleep at night they will roost in trees or find shelter among shrubs and bushes that offer protection from the elements, as well as to avoid being preyed upon by other animals.

What are the predators of the Red-tailed Hawk?

The red-tailed hawk is a large bird of prey, and thus has many predators. One of the most common predators of the red-tailed hawk is other birds such as owls, crows, or ravens. Other animals such as coyotes, bobcats, weasels and even humans are also potential predators for this animal.

Are Red-tailed Hawks dangerous?

They are usually non-aggressive, but they have been known to attack humans and other animals if provoked. These birds have powerful talons and can cause serious injury to humans if they decide to attack you. 

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