Common Bird Species of Northwestern Ontario





Buteo jamaicensis
Red-tailed Hawk


Distinguishing Features - Upper side, dark brown randomly mixed with white and reddy-brown. Upper tail surface, characteristic chestnut colour (hence the name "red-tailed"), bearing narrow black subterminal band with whitish tip. Dusky strip from corners of mouth to shoulder. Underparts whitish, with a band, lined with random, slate-coloured markings. Underside of tail grayish with faint bars. Female somewhat larger than the male.

Red-tailed Hawk Size -
Male: 48 - 56 cm (19.25 - 22.5 in)
Female: 53 - 61 cm (21.25 - 24.5 in)


In both woodlands and open areas.


Mostly in tops of large trees but will nest on a cliff where trees are not available. Nest is made of larger twigs, lined with moss, bark, grass or other soft materials. Eggs, 2 - 4; white, lightly spotted with brown. Incubation period 28 - 32 days.


The Red-tailed Hawk is often seen perched on a branch or a telephone line surveying the surrounding countryside. Its diet consists mainly of small rodents and birds, as well as larger insects.

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