Buteo lineatus - (Gmelin, 1788)
Red-shouldered Hawk
Other English Common Names: red-shouldered hawk
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Buteo lineatus (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) (TSN 175359)
French Common Names: buse à épaulettes
Spanish Common Names: Aguililla Pecho Rojo
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103156
Element Code: ABNKC19030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
Image 7494

© Larry Master

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae Buteo
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Buteo lineatus
Taxonomic Comments: Five subspecies have been recognized. The nominate lineatus, formerly Falco lineatus, is based on the "barred-breasted buzzard" of Latham and the "red-shouldered falcon" of Pennant (AOU 1983). The other four subspecies include alleni of the southeastern U.S., extimus of extreme southern Florida, texanus of Texas and northeastern Mexico, and elegans of the west coast.

Palmer (1988) stated that "the red-shoulder fits better morphologically in asturina than in buteo," and placed it in the former as asturina lineata. Most authors have retained this species in the genus buteo.

The red-shouldered hawk and Ridgway's hawk, B. ridgwayi, a resident on Hispaniola and surrounding small islands (Beata, Gonave, Isle-a-Vache, Alto Velo, Grand Cayemite and Petite Cayemite) might constitute a superspecies (AOU 1983).
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 22Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Species is apparently holding its own throughout most of the large range (S4 or S5 in many states), but populations are much depressed, especially in the north, compared to historic levels. Threats may increase over next decade because of demands on habitat for human use.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4N5B,N4N5M (25Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5), Arkansas (S3), California (SNRB), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (S5B), Delaware (S2B,S3N), District of Columbia (S2B,S3N), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S4), Illinois (S2S3), Indiana (S3), Iowa (S2B), Kansas (S3), Kentucky (S4B,S4N), Louisiana (S5), Maine (S3N,S4B), Maryland (S4S5B,S4N), Massachusetts (S4B,S4N), Michigan (S4), Minnesota (S3B,SNRN), Mississippi (S4B), Missouri (S4), Nebraska (S1), Nevada (S1), New Hampshire (S3), New Jersey (S1B,S2N), New York (S4B), North Carolina (S4B,S4N), Ohio (S3), Oklahoma (S5), Oregon (S3N), Pennsylvania (S4B,S3S4N), Rhode Island (S3B,S3N), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (SUB), Tennessee (S4B), Texas (S4B), Vermont (S2B), Virginia (S4), West Virginia (S4B,S4N), Wisconsin (S3S4B,S1N)
Canada New Brunswick (S2B,S2M), Ontario (S4B), Quebec (S3S4)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Not at Risk (29Apr2006)
Comments on COSEWIC: Reason for designation: In Canada, this forest-nesting species has been stable or increasing, depending on the region, over the last 10 to 20 years. The main threat to the species is habitat loss and degradation, which is likely to be most serious in the southern parts of its Canadian range. Populations are stable or increasing in most parts of the United States, so there is also a potential outside source for rescue.

Status history: Designated Special Concern in April 1983. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 1996. Status re-examined and designated Not at Risk in April 2006.

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix II

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDING: northern California south, west of the Sierran Divide, to northern Baja California; and from eastern Nebraska, Iowa, central Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, northern Michigan, southern Ontario, southwestern Quebec and southern New Brunswick south to Veracruz, Tamaulipas, central and southern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and Florida (to the Florida Keys); also locally in the valley of Mexico (recorded in Zacatecas and Distrito Federal) (AOU 1983, Crocoll 1994). Now very scarce as a breeder in eastern and central Mexico. NON-BREEDING: California and throughout the breeding range, at least sporadically, in eastern North America, but primarily from eastern Kansas, central Missouri, the Ohio Valley, northwestern Pennsylvania, southern New York, and southern New England south to central Mexico (Crocoll 1994, AOU 1998). Most numerous in the Gulf coast states and Georgia (Root 1988).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Eleven states or provinces report more than 100 EOs. In the early 1990s, ranked S4 or S5 in at least 15 states/provinces.

Population Size: 10,000 - 100,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Rangewide numbers not available. According to Risley (1983 COSEWIC report), probably there were at least 468 breeding pairs in Canada as of the early 1980s. Kirk et al. (1995) reported the estimated number of breeding pairs in Canada as 2000-5000.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Favored habitat has been reduced, modified or destroyed. Since the European settlement of the Northeast beginning in the 17th century, but especially since the 19th century, forests have been cleared for lumber, agriculture, urban and suburban development, and wetlands have been drained. In addition to complete removal of forest cover, selective harvest of valuable hardwoods or firewood also has reduced suitable habitat. Bryant (1986) studied 1953-78 aerial photographs and nest records to determine the influence of selective logging in Ontario. Incursions by red-tailed hawks were strongly associated with reductions in mean tree density and tree-crown diameter, suggesting that selective cutting in woodlots may result in the replacement of red-shouldered by red-tailed hawks. Craighead and Craighead (1969) and Postupalsky (1989) documented replacement of red-shouldered by red-tailed hawks in Washtenaw County, Michigan, that was apparently associated with changes in woodlot size and structure. Failure to maintain adequate uncut buffer zones around traditional nest sites might result in the local extirpation of the species (Bryant 1986). Habitat is increasing in some areas as farms are abandoned and revert to forest (Crocoll and Parker 1988). For example in 1900 in New York a full 75% of the land was opened or cleared for farming. Today, more than 61% of New York's land area is forested (Considine and Frieswyk 1982). New York's total forested acreage increased by 3.4 million acres (+23%) between 1950 and 1980 (Considine and Frieswyk 1982). Similar increases in forest land is true of other Northeastern states, and some Northcentral states as well. Not all reforested land will become appropriate habitat. The mature forest structure required may or may not develop, depending largely on timber harvest practices and development patterns. Ebbers (1989) pointed out that the practice of highgrading forest stands eliminates large, low-branching trees, such as American beech, that have low timber value, but are favored nesting sites. On the other hand, the practice of leaving such trees for their wildlife values as den sites and for beechnut production is beneficial. Populations potentially could be impacted by nest site competitors. Bent (1937), Stewart (1949) and Devereaux and Mosher (1984) noted the close proximity of barred owls to red-shouldered hawks during the breeding season and commented that the two species habitat requirements are similar. In fact, barred owls have been documented using old red-shoulder nests (Bent 1937, Crocoll and Parker 1986). Cooper's hawks (ACCIPITER COOPERII) (Peck and James 1983) and great horned owls (Bent 1937) have also been observed to use red-shouldered hawk nests. Both broad-winged hawks (Armstrong and Euler 1983, Crocoll and Parker 1989) and particularly red-tailed hawks (Titus and Mosher 1981, Bednarz and Dinsmore 1982, Bryant 1986) are mentioned as potential competitors for nest sites. In Ontario, broad-wings were found to use dense, deciduous-dominated mixed forests with higher ground cover in comparison to red-shoulders which nested in mature open deciduous forests with low ground cover (Armstrong and Euler 1983). Further, broad-wings are often found near partially open forests whereas red-shoulders usually are restricted to closed forests (Titus and Mosher 1981, Armstrong and Euler 1983, Crocoll and Parker 1989). Red-shouldered and red-tailed hawks may compete for nest sites (Bent 1937, Craighead and Craighead 1956). In many areas, red-tailed hawks have replaced red-shoulders as the dominant diurnal woodland hawk, though this is related more to changes in habitat than to simple competition for nest sites. In contrast to red-shoulders, red-tails prefer forests with less canopy cover and smaller woodlot size (Bednarz and Dinsmore 1982), decreased tree densities and crown diameters (Bryant 1986), and tend to nest closer to the tops of trees with greater nest openness and often on slopes (Titus and Mosher 1981, Bednarz and Dinsmore 1982). Tree diseases, especially of favored nesting trees (beech, chestnut, maple, etc.) may have a locally or regionally significant impact, as may the defoliation of vast expanses of Northeast forest by gypsy moths, pear thrips, or other insect species (Crocoll, in press). Bosakowski and Smith (1989) found that increasing human disturbance (off-road vehicles, suburban activities, horseback riders, joggers, turkey hunters, party gangs, unauthorized campers) is pushing this sensitive species to the deepest, wildest areas left in the Pequannock watershed of northern New Jersey. Although some hawks, particularly in the southern part of their range, are seemingly unaffected by human presence (Glen Johnson, pers. comm.; Jim Cox, pers. comm.), most are apparently secretive and avoid areas of human use. Hands et al. (1989) summarized recent studies documenting the relationship between nest sites and human use areas. The average distance from nest to a road was 69 m and 156 m in two Missouri studies, and 840 m in an Iowa study. Shooting from sites such as Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, used to take a major toll, but the changing legal and social climate has provided this "chicken hawk" (Knight 1908) far more protection than it enjoyed formerly. A number of contaminants have been found in the eggs and tissues of red-shouldered hawks: DDE, DDD, DDT, dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, hexochlorobenzine, PCBs, mercury, chlordane, dieldrin, Furadan 10 (10% carbofuran, a carbamate), organochlorine, and polychlorinated biphenyls (Hands et al. 1989, Havera and Duzan 1986). Decreases in eggshell thickness were detected in the early 1970s, but were apparently less severe than in accipiters, falcons, ospreys (PANDION HALIAETUS), and bald eagles (HALIAEETUS LEUCOCEPHALUS) and probably had little detrimental effect on reproductive performance in the red-shoulder (Henny et al. 1973). Contaminants in water or reduced water quality can have indirect detrimental effects by reducing the amphibian prey base (Castrale 1991).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable to increase of <25%
Short-term Trend Comments: Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) results since 1980 indicate that populations in the eastern and western parts of the range are increasing overall, whereas the populations in the central region are more or less stable (Sauer et al. 2001). In a survey designed specifically to monitor this species, the trend in southern Ontario appears to be fluctuating but stable overall, 1990-2000 (Badzinski et al. 2000). The explanation for this change appears to be that in the Northeast, regrowth of forests harvested in the late 1800s has begun to provide more suitable habitat. However, even though there are some signs of stabilization or improvement, the present populations remain much lower than historical populations throughout the majority of the northern half of the range. In the southern part of the range, populations are apparently doing well, with the possible exception of those in Texas (Sauer et al. 2001). The amount of available habitat in the south is apparently greater than in the north, may be less threatened, and the species is apparently less sensitive to human presence and disturbance. Lack of quantitative data from much of its southern range leaves open the question of overall status.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Long-term Trend Comments: Prior to 1900, widely reported to be the most common diurnal woodland raptor. Declined as mature forests were harvested or selectively cut. Most of the decline in the Northeast occurred in the more agricultural and more urbanized states, especially near the coast between Boston and Washington and the Lake Ontario Plain of New York. Christmas Bird Count (CBC) data indicate that from 1950 to 1969 populations declined at an overall rate of 65-74% for Ohio, 75-84% for Indiana and Michigan, and 85-94% for Illinois and Wisconsin (Brown 1971). Population levels still are greatly depressed compared to 100 years ago in most of the range. Within the Northeast and Northcentral regions there are only few places where it is still more common than the red-tailed hawk, as it once was in most areas.
Since 1970, the decline has apparently ceased or reversed in many areas, particularly in the eastern half of the range. Migration counts on the east coast for 1972-1987 showed no consistent trend (Titus and Fuller 1990) and suggest no significant recovery from low populations of the early 1970s (USFWS 1987, Bednarz et al. 1990). Appeared on the Blue List compiled and published in American Birds from 1982 through 1986 (Tate 1986). Contributors reported the species "greatly down" in the Northeast Maritime and Ontario regions, "greatly down-down" in the Hudson-Delaware and Appalachian regions, and "down" in the Southern Atlantic Coast and Middlewestern Prairie regions. Other areas did not report a decline.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Annual surveys where declining; rangewide continue Christmas Bird Counts, Breeding Bird Atlas projects, and Breeding Bird Surveys; increase coverage in areas with declining populations; compile Hawk Migration Association data; less frequent inventories needed in South.

Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: northern California south, west of the Sierran Divide, to northern Baja California; and from eastern Nebraska, Iowa, central Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, northern Michigan, southern Ontario, southwestern Quebec and southern New Brunswick south to Veracruz, Tamaulipas, central and southern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and Florida (to the Florida Keys); also locally in the valley of Mexico (recorded in Zacatecas and Distrito Federal) (AOU 1983, Crocoll 1994). Now very scarce as a breeder in eastern and central Mexico. NON-BREEDING: California and throughout the breeding range, at least sporadically, in eastern North America, but primarily from eastern Kansas, central Missouri, the Ohio Valley, northwestern Pennsylvania, southern New York, and southern New England south to central Mexico (Crocoll 1994, AOU 1998). Most numerous in the Gulf coast states and Georgia (Root 1988).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
Canada NB, ON, QC

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: WILDSPACETM 2002

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Fairfield (09001), Hartford (09003), Middlesex (09007), New Haven (09009), New London (09011)
DE Kent (10001), New Castle (10003), Sussex (10005)
IA Allamakee (19005), Benton (19011), Black Hawk (19013), Boone (19015)*, Bremer (19017), Buchanan (19019), Butler (19023), Clayton (19043), Clinton (19045), Delaware (19055), Des Moines (19057), Jackson (19097), Louisa (19115), Lucas (19117), Marshall (19127), Monroe (19135), Muscatine (19139), Polk (19153), Poweshiek (19157), Scott (19163)*
ID Canyon (16027), Elmore (16039), Owyhee (16073), Power (16077)
IL Alexander (17003)*, Champaign (17019)*, Clay (17025), Cook (17031), DuPage (17043), Ford (17053)*, Franklin (17055), Hardin (17069)*, Jackson (17077), Jasper (17079), Jefferson (17081)*, Jo Daviess (17085), Johnson (17087), Kendall (17093)*, La Salle (17099), Lake (17097), Lawrence (17101), Marion (17121), Massac (17127)*, Mchenry (17111), Montgomery (17135)*, Perry (17145)*, Pope (17151)*, Pulaski (17153)*, Rock Island (17161), Vermilion (17183), Wabash (17185), Will (17197)*, Williamson (17199), Winnebago (17201)
IN Allen (18003), Bartholomew (18005), Boone (18011), Brown (18013), Clay (18021), Clinton (18023), Crawford (18025), De Kalb (18033), Dubois (18037), Fayette (18041), Gibson (18051), Greene (18055), Hamilton (18057), Hancock (18059)*, Harrison (18061), Huntington (18069)*, Jackson (18071), Jasper (18073)*, Jennings (18079), Johnson (18081), La Porte (18091), Lagrange (18087), Lake (18089)*, Lawrence (18093), Marion (18097), Martin (18101), Monroe (18105), Montgomery (18107), Morgan (18109), Newton (18111), Noble (18113), Orange (18117), Parke (18121), Perry (18123), Pike (18125), Porter (18127), Posey (18129), Pulaski (18131), Putnam (18133), Ripley (18137), Scott (18143), Spencer (18147), Starke (18149)*, Vanderburgh (18163), Wabash (18169), Warren (18171), Warrick (18173), Washington (18175)
KS Allen (20001), Bourbon (20011), Cherokee (20021), Douglas (20045), Greenwood (20073), Jackson (20085), Jefferson (20087), Labette (20099), Leavenworth (20103), Linn (20107), Lyon (20111), Miami (20121), Montgomery (20125), Neosho (20133)*, Pottawatomie (20149), Sedgwick (20173), Wilson (20205), Woodson (20207)
MI Alcona (26001), Alger (26003), Allegan (26005), Alpena (26007), Antrim (26009), Arenac (26011), Benzie (26019), Berrien (26021), Charlevoix (26029), Cheboygan (26031), Chippewa (26033), Clare (26035), Crawford (26039), Delta (26041), Emmet (26047), Gladwin (26051), Gogebic (26053)*, Grand Traverse (26055), Ionia (26067), Iosco (26069), Iron (26071)*, Kalkaska (26079), Kent (26081), Lake (26085), Lapeer (26087), Leelanau (26089), Livingston (26093), Luce (26095), Mackinac (26097), Macomb (26099)*, Manistee (26101), Marquette (26103), Mason (26105), Menominee (26109), Midland (26111), Missaukee (26113), Montcalm (26117), Montmorency (26119), Muskegon (26121), Newaygo (26123), Oakland (26125), Oceana (26127), Ogemaw (26129), Oscoda (26135), Otsego (26137), Ottawa (26139), Presque Isle (26141), Roscommon (26143), Schoolcraft (26153), St. Clair (26147), Tuscola (26157), Van Buren (26159), Washtenaw (26161), Wayne (26163), Wexford (26165)
MN Aitkin (27001), Anoka (27003), Becker (27005), Beltrami (27007), Benton (27009), Big Stone (27011)*, Carver (27019), Cass (27021), Chippewa (27023), Chisago (27025), Clearwater (27029), Cook (27031), Crow Wing (27035), Dakota (27037), Douglas (27041), Fillmore (27045), Goodhue (27049), Hennepin (27053), Houston (27055), Hubbard (27057), Isanti (27059), Itasca (27061), Kanabec (27065), Kandiyohi (27067), Lac Qui Parle (27073), Mahnomen (27087), Mille Lacs (27095), Morrison (27097), Otter Tail (27111), Pine (27115), Pope (27121), Ramsey (27123), Renville (27129), Rice (27131), Scott (27139), Sherburne (27141), Sibley (27143), St. Louis (27137), Stearns (27145), Todd (27153), Wabasha (27157), Wadena (27159), Washington (27163), Winona (27169), Wright (27171), Yellow Medicine (27173)
MO Benton (29015), Boone (29019), Butler (29023), Carter (29035), Chariton (29041), Cole (29051), Franklin (29071), Lincoln (29113), Miller (29131), Oregon (29149), Pulaski (29169), Reynolds (29179), Ripley (29181), Shannon (29203), Vernon (29217)
MS Attala (28007)*, Chickasaw (28017)*, Hinds (28049)*, Kemper (28069)*, Lamar (28073)*, Leflore (28083)*, Oktibbeha (28105)*, Rankin (28121)*, Tallahatchie (28135)*
NE Sarpy (31153)
NH Rockingham (33015)
NJ Atlantic (34001), Bergen (34003), Burlington (34005), Camden (34007), Cape May (34009), Cumberland (34011), Essex (34013), Gloucester (34015), Hunterdon (34019), Mercer (34021), Monmouth (34025), Morris (34027), Ocean (34029), Passaic (34031), Somerset (34035), Sussex (34037), Union (34039), Warren (34041)
PA Sullivan (42113)*
WI Adams (55001), Barron (55005), Bayfield (55007), Brown (55009), Buffalo (55011), Burnett (55013), Calumet (55015), Chippewa (55017), Clark (55019), Columbia (55021), Crawford (55023), Dane (55025), Door (55029), Dunn (55033), Eau Claire (55035), Florence (55037), Fond Du Lac (55039), Forest (55041), Grant (55043), Green (55045), Green Lake (55047), Iowa (55049), Jackson (55053), Juneau (55057), La Crosse (55063), Langlade (55067), Lincoln (55069), Manitowoc (55071), Marathon (55073), Marinette (55075), Marquette (55077)*, Menominee (55078), Oconto (55083), Oneida (55085), Outagamie (55087), Ozaukee (55089), Pepin (55091), Pierce (55093), Polk (55095), Portage (55097), Price (55099), Racine (55101), Richland (55103), Rock (55105), Sauk (55111), Sawyer (55113), Shawano (55115), Sheboygan (55117), St. Croix (55109), Taylor (55119), Trempealeau (55121), Vernon (55123), Vilas (55125), Walworth (55127), Washburn (55129), Washington (55131), Waukesha (55133), Waupaca (55135), Waushara (55137), Wood (55141)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Merrimack (01070006)+, Lower Connecticut (01080205)+, Farmington (01080207)+, Thames (01100003)+, Quinnipiac (01100004)+, Housatonic (01100005)+, Saugatuck (01100006)+
02 Rondout (02020007)+, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+, Sandy Hook-Staten Island (02030104)+, Raritan (02030105)+, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+, Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201)+, Lower Delaware (02040202)+, Brandywine-Christina (02040205)+, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+, Broadkill-Smyrna (02040207)+, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+, Chincoteague (02040303)+, Lower West Branch Susquehanna (02050206)+*, Chester-Sassafras (02060002)+, Choptank (02060005)+, Western Lower Delmarva (02080109)+, Pokomoke-Western Lower Delmarva (02080111)+
03 Upper Tombigbee (03160101)+*, Noxubee (03160108)+*, Black (03170007)+*, Middle Pearl-Strong (03180002)+*
04 Baptism-Brule (04010101)+, Beaver-Lester (04010102)+, St. Louis (04010201)+, Cloquet (04010202)+, Bad-Montreal (04010302)+, Ontonagon (04020102)+*, Betsy-Chocolay (04020201)+, Tahquamenon (04020202)+, Waiska (04020203)+, Manitowoc-Sheboygan (04030101)+, Door-Kewaunee (04030102)+, Duck-Pensaukee (04030103)+, Oconto (04030104)+, Peshtigo (04030105)+, Brule (04030106)+, Michigamme (04030107)+, Menominee (04030108)+, Cedar-Ford (04030109)+, Tacoosh-Whitefish (04030111)+, Fishdam-Sturgeon (04030112)+, Upper Fox (04030201)+, Wolf (04030202)+, Little Calumet-Galien (04040001)+, Pike-Root (04040002)+, Milwaukee (04040003)+, St. Joseph (04050001)+, Black-Macatawa (04050002)+, Kalamazoo (04050003)+, Lower Grand (04050006)+, Pere Marquette-White (04060101)+, Muskegon (04060102)+, Manistee (04060103)+, Betsie-Platte (04060104)+, Boardman-Charlevoix (04060105)+, Manistique (04060106)+, Brevoort-Millecoquins (04060107)+, St. Marys (04070001)+*, Carp-Pine (04070002)+, Lone Lake-Ocqueoc (04070003)+, Cheboygan (04070004)+, Black (04070005)+, Thunder Bay (04070006)+, Au Sable (04070007)+, Au Gres-Rifle (04080101)+, Tittabawassee (04080201)+, Pine (04080202)+, Shiawassee (04080203)+*, Flint (04080204)+, Cass (04080205)+, Lake Huron (04080300)+, St. Clair (04090001)+, Clinton (04090003)+, Huron (04090005)+, Ottawa-Stony (04100001)+, St. Joseph (04100003)+
05 Whitewater (05080003)+, Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203)+, Upper Wabash (05120101)+*, Salamonie (05120102)+, Tippecanoe (05120106)+, Wildcat (05120107)+, Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion (05120108)+, Vermilion (05120109)+, Sugar (05120110)+, Middle Wabash-Busseron (05120111)+, Embarras (05120112)+, Lower Wabash (05120113)+, Little Wabash (05120114)+, Skillet (05120115)+, Upper White (05120201)+, Lower White (05120202)+, Eel (05120203)+, Driftwood (05120204)+, Muscatatuck (05120207)+, Lower East Fork White (05120208)+, Patoka (05120209)+, Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101)+, Blue-Sinking (05140104)+, Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon (05140201)+, Highland-Pigeon (05140202)+, Lower Ohio-Bay (05140203)+*, Saline (05140204)+, Lower Ohio (05140206)+*
07 Mississippi Headwaters (07010101)+, Leech Lake (07010102)+, Prairie-Willow (07010103)+, Elk-Nokasippi (07010104)+, Pine (07010105)+, Crow Wing (07010106)+, Redeye (07010107)+, Long Prairie (07010108)+, Platte-Spunk (07010201)+, Sauk (07010202)+, Clearwater-Elk (07010203)+, Crow (07010204)+, Twin Cities (07010206)+, Rum (07010207)+, Upper Minnesota (07020001)+*, Pomme De Terre (07020002)+, Hawk-Yellow Medicine (07020004)+, Chippewa (07020005)+, Lower Minnesota (07020012)+, Upper St. Croix (07030001)+, Namekagon (07030002)+, Kettle (07030003)+, Snake (07030004)+, Lower St. Croix (07030005)+, Rush-Vermillion (07040001)+, Cannon (07040002)+, Buffalo-Whitewater (07040003)+, Zumbro (07040004)+, Trempealeau (07040005)+, La Crosse-Pine (07040006)+, Black (07040007)+, Root (07040008)+, Upper Chippewa (07050001)+, Flambeau (07050002)+, South Fork Flambeau (07050003)+, Lower Chippewa (07050005)+, Eau Claire (07050006)+, Red Cedar (07050007)+, Coon-Yellow (07060001)+, Upper Iowa (07060002)+, Grant-Little Maquoketa (07060003)+, Apple-Plum (07060005)+, Maquoketa (07060006)+, Upper Wisconsin (07070001)+, Lake Dubay (07070002)+, Castle Rock (07070003)+, Baraboo (07070004)+, Lower Wisconsin (07070005)+, Kickapoo (07070006)+, Copperas-Duck (07080101)+, Upper Wapsipinicon (07080102)+, Lower Wapsipinicon (07080103)+, Flint-Henderson (07080104)+, North Skunk (07080106)+, Shell Rock (07080202)+, West Fork Cedar (07080204)+, Middle Cedar (07080205)+, Lower Cedar (07080206)+, Middle Iowa (07080208)+, Lower Iowa (07080209)+, Upper Rock (07090001)+, Crawfish (07090002)+, Sugar (07090004)+, Lower Rock (07090005)+, Middle Des Moines (07100004)+*, North Raccoon (07100006)+, Lake Red Rock (07100008)+, Lower Des Moines (07100009)+, Cuivre (07110008)+, Kankakee (07120001)+, Iroquois (07120002)+, Chicago (07120003)+, Des Plaines (07120004)+, Upper Fox (07120006)+, Lower Fox (07120007)+*, Lower Illinois-Senachwine Lake (07130001)+, Bourbeuse (07140103)+, Big Muddy (07140106)+, Cache (07140108)+*, Shoal (07140203)+*
08 Lower St. Francis (08020203)+, Tallahatchie (08030202)+*, Yalobusha (08030205)+*, Upper Big Black (08060201)+*, Lower Big Black (08060202)+*
09 Otter Tail (09020103)+, Buffalo (09020106)+, Eastern Wild Rice (09020108)+, Red Lakes (09020302)+, Thief (09020304)+, Big Fork (09030006)+
10 Big Papillion-Mosquito (10230006)+, Independence-Sugar (10240011)+, Middle Kansas (10270102)+, Delaware (10270103)+, Lower Kansas (10270104)+, Lower Grand (10280103)+, Upper Chariton (10280201)+, Lower Marais Des Cygnes (10290102)+, Little Osage (10290103)+, Harry S. Missouri (10290105)+, Lake of the Ozarks (10290109)+, Upper Gasconade (10290201)+, Big Piney (10290202)+, Lower Missouri-Moreau (10300102)+
11 Upper Black (11010007)+, Current (11010008)+, Eleven Point (11010011)+, Middle Arkansas-Slate (11030013)+, Upper Verdigris (11070101)+, Fall (11070102)+, Elk (11070104)+, Caney (11070106)+, Neosho headwaters (11070201)+, Lower Cottonwood (11070203)+, Upper Neosho (11070204)+, Middle Neosho (11070205)+, Spring (11070207)+
17 American Falls (17040206)+, Bruneau (17050102)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A large woodland hawk
General Description: ADULTS: A medium-sized, long-tailed, slender buteo, larger than the broad-winged hawk (BUTEO PLATYPTERUS) and smaller than the red-tailed hawk (BUTEO JAMAICENSIS). The long legs and feet are yellow, with less than half the tarsus feathered (versus half in red-tailed hawk). Wingtips do not reach the tail tip on perched birds. Sexes are similar, except that the female is larger, with considerable size overlap. In basic plumage the upperparts are dark but somewhat blotchy. The lesser upper wing coverts are rusty reddish or rufous and form the distinctive red-shoulder patch. The flight feathers are boldly barred with black and white above, not as boldly barred below, with a "window" (a white crescent-shaped panel) near the black outer primary tips. The underwing appears two-toned, with rufous coverts darker than the flight feathers. The wings are proportionately long and narrow, without the bulges of the red-tailed hawk. The leading edge is straight, while the trailing edge curves gently or not at all: "Seen from below, the wing of a red-shouldered hawk suggests a long, rectangular plank. The entire wing juts forward when the bird is in a full soar, as if it were reaching out, arms wide, to embrace something" (Dunne et al. 1988). Soaring typically occurs with wings in a slight downward droop. The underparts have transverse rusty to rufescent barring. The tail has several wide and very dark bars; the intervening narrow stripes and the tip of the tail are white. There is geographical and some sexual variation in the number of these tail bars (Palmer 1988, Clark and Wheeler 1987), among both adults and juveniles. The iris is dark brown and the cere is bright yellow.

YOUNG: nestlings are thickly covered with long, soft, silky down, longest on the head, yellowish-white above, tinged with "vinaceous-buff" on the back and wings, and whiter below. Somewhat older nestlings are covered with short, thick, woolly down, thickest and pure white on the belly, and grayish-white above. At about two weeks the wing quills sprout, followed by the scapulars, wing coverts, and contour plumage (Bent 1937, Kennard 1894).

Juvenile plumage is well-developed by fledging and held through the first winter into spring when gradually molted. It may not be completely molted until the following fall. The head is medium brown, usually with buffy superciliary line and dark brown malar stripes. The iris is light to medium gray-brown and the cere is greenish-yellow. The back is dark brown with some tawny mottling. The upper wing coverts are dark brown with some tawny and whitish mottling and often a hint of the red shoulder. Primaries are dark brown with a crescent-shaped tawny area on the upper surface next to the black tips. The white underparts are marked longitudinally with dark brown blobs. The underwing is uniform white to cream and shows the distinctive crescent panel or "window" when backlit. Leg feathers and undertail coverts are white and spotted with dark brown. The tail is brown above with many fine lighter brown bands.

A few albinistic and partially albinistic birds have been recorded (Clark and Wheeler 1987).

EGGS: smooth and slightly glossy. Ground color dull white or with a faint buff wash, overlaid with variable blotches, spots, or specks of reddish-brown or dark brown, and rarely pale lilac, with the larger markings concentrated toward the larger end.

VOCALIZATIONS: common during the breeding season (Bent 1937). The most common call is a "kee-aah," with the accent on first syllable, and second extended and with falling inflection (Palmer 1988). Another vocalization includes a single or repeated "kip," which the male gives when fetching prey and nearing the nest, and the female responds similarly, while nestlings have a chirping call. The blue jay (CYANOCITTA CRISTATA) is notorious for mimicking the cry of the red-shouldered hawk. Bent (1937) and Palmer (1988) noted a variety of other vocalizations attributed to this hawk, mostly variants of the kee-aah cry or the nest call.

Reproduction Comments: Courtship, territory establishment, and nest building (or refurbishing) occur shortly after arrival on the breeding grounds. In New York, Crocoll and Parker (1989) recorded birds back on territories and relining nests during the second and third weeks of March. Portnoy and Dodge (1979) in Massachusetts observed courtship flights during March and nest relining during the last week of March and first week of April. Morris et al. (1982) in southwestern Quebec observed territorial hawks soaring from early March to mid-April. Farther south, nesting activities begin several weeks earlier. Records from Alabama, Louisiana, and Oklahoma indicate that breeding begins in February.

Aerial nuptial displays are impressive and include "high-circling" and "sky-dancing," both extremely vocal performances. In the sky-dance, one individual (presumably the male) rides an upward thermal, crying as it circles, then drops with folded wings into a steep dive, pulling up and then shooting upward again. Neighboring pairs often join in, with as many as ten birds involved. The sky-dance can be immediately followed by copulation, which "occurs repeatedly and over considerable time" (Palmer 1988).

Clutch size varies from one to six (Palmer 1988), with two to four eggs being the most common sizes throughout the range. Clutch size is commonly two in Florida, three to four in the northern U.S. A mean of 3.45 eggs from 42 clutches was reported for the Great Lakes States (Henny 1972). Eggs are laid January-June (mostly March-April) in the southeastern U.S., March-June (mostly April) in northern U.S., mostly March-April in California (Palmer 1988). Nests late March to late May in Maryland (Bushman and Therres 1988) and New York (Bull 1974).

Incubation is by both sexes, but mainly by the female, who is fed by the male, and commences with the laying of the first egg. The incubation period is around 33 days per egg (Newton 1979), and the young hatch asynchronously and thus vary in size, as with many raptors (Newton 1979). The semi-altricial young are inactive at first, becoming active at about 10 days. Feathering begins in about two weeks. The nestling period lasts from five to six weeks (Harrison 1978, Crocoll and Parker 1989). Young leave the nest at 5-6 weeks; in California, first flight occurs at about 45 days (sometimes at considerably older age). Fledging generally occurs in mid-June in Maryland (Janik and Mosher 1982), June to mid-July in New York (Bull 1974, Crocoll and Parker 1989), and late June-early July in Massachusetts (Portnoy and Dodge 1979). Dates are similar throughout the northern range of the species, and are advanced 4 to 8 weeks in the south. In southern California, parents supplied food to young for 8-10 weeks after fledging.

Although a few nest at one year of age (Apanius 1977), most first breed when at least two years old (Palmer 1988). There has been evidence of polyandry with copulation and trio bonding at the nest recorded (Palmer 1988).

Nesting success (measured as the percentage of nests that fledge at least one young) has been reported to vary from 52.9% in Maryland to 100% in Missouri with an average of 68.7% over nine North American studies (Crocoll and Parker 1989). Two one-year studies reported lower nest success rates: 47.4% for 19 nests in northern Lower Michigan in 1986 (Ebbers 1986), and 25% for 1966 at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Maryland (Henny et al. 1973).

The average number of young fledged per nest over the previously cited nine studies varied from 1.11 young to 2.9. Henny et al. (1973) used a mathematical model and field data to predict that in a stable population each pair should fledge an average of 1.95 young. Four of the nine above mentioned studies had fledging numbers below the Henny et al. (1973) standard. Three of the studies were conducted in the Northeast: New York (1.11 young fledged, Crocoll and Parker 1989), Western Maryland (1.8 young fledged, Janik and Mosher 1982), and central Maryland (1.58 young fledged, Henny et al. 1973). One Michigan population produced a mean 1.2 young fledged (n = 44) over three years of study, while another population fledged 2.2 young (n = 29) over the same time period (Ebbers 1989). Ebbers (1989) noted that there is concern that the 1.95 standard may be too high because of possible biases in the data used to scale the model values. Nevertheless, it does appear that some populations produce excess young ("source" populations), while others would not survive without immigration ("sink" populations).

Ecology Comments: Mortality has been reported to occur during the incubation, nestling, and fledgling stages of the breeding season (Craighead and Craighead 1956, Janik and Mosher 1982, Bosakowski and Speiser 1986, Crocoll and Parker 1989). Adults and juveniles have also been reported to suffer mortality (McCrary and Bloom 1984, Crocoll and Parker 1989). Mortality has taken the form of wind-destroyed nests (Wiley 1975, Portnoy and Dodge 1979, Dijak et al. 1990), addled eggs (Janik and Mosher 1982, Crocoll and Parker 1989), starvation of nestlings (Crocoll and Parker 1989), human disturbance at or near the nest-site (Craighead and Craighead 1956, Wiley 1975), and predation of eggs, nestlings or adults (Craighead and Craighead 1956, Wiley 1975, Portnoy and Dodge 1979, Bosakowski and Speiser 1986, Crocoll and Parker 1989). The most frequent predators on eggs and young are raccoons (PROCYON LOTOR) and great horned owls (BUBO VIRGINIANUS).

Breeding density is highly variable; recorded values include one pair per 48.7 ha in central Maryland (Stewart 1949), one pair per 171 ha in western New York (Crocoll and Parker 1989), one pair per 417 ha in Massachusetts, one pair per 455-588 ha in Indiana, one pair per 645 ha in Michigan (Craighead and Craighead 1956), and 1 pair/1000 ha in Wisconsin (see Peterson and Crocoll 1992). Stewart (1949) found nests a mean distance of 1072 m apart in the wide upper Patuxent River drainage in Maryland, and Parker (1986) found similar internest distances in Missouri. Crocoll and Parker (1989) found nests a mean distance of 1271 m apart in the Canadaway Creek Wildlife Management Area of western New York. Adjacent nests were 0.37-1.27 km apart in creek bottoms in southern California. Breeding home range of radio-tagged birds in California averaged 62 ha for males, 37 ha for females; used less space when not breeding. In northern New Jersey, nesting density was 0.22 nests per 100 ha, the highest density yet reported (about twice that reported in the few comparable studies in other states) (Bosakowski et al. 1992).

Often uses nests of previous years (Terres 1980). Nesting territories can be used for many years by a succession of pairs, even in the face of logging and (formerly) egg collecting. Bent (1937) reported an unbroken record of 26 years for a territory that was occupied for at least 42 years, until the woods were nearly ruined by cutting. His longest record was 47 years, but he knew of a tract that was occupied for over a half-century, from 1872 until 1923.

LEUCOCYTOZOA sp., a hematozoan, was detected in the blood of hawks tested in Oklahoma (Kocan et al. 1977). Two lice (COLPOCEPHALUM FLAVESCENS and PHILOPTERUS TAUROCEPHALUS) and one bird fly (LYNCHIA AMERICANA) have been found on red-shoulders (Peters 1936). In New York, the ears of nestlings commonly were full of maggots (PROTOCALLIPHORA SPLENDIDA) (Sargent 1938). These maggot infestations seemingly did not cause deafness or hinder survival (Hands et al. 1989).

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: North of a line roughly from southern Minnesota to the southern border of Ohio, to central New Hampshire, most red-shouldered hawks are resident only during the breeding season, though a few may overwinter in the region. The migratory tendency is expressed most strongly in the Northeast population, although there are also flights in the Midwest and Southeast, and a light fall movement in California. From the latitude of about Virginia southward, populations are mainly resident.

In Maryland, montane populations are migratory whereas those in the Piedmont and coastal areas are not.

Spring migration is early; birds move by 15 February in Maryland and the District of Columbia (Palmer 1988). Overall, the northward movement peaks in March. Migrants begin to arrive in Massachusetts in mid-March, in southwestern Quebec from March to mid-April. In Michigan, migrating birds arrive at nesting grounds between late February and early April.

Fall migration begins in early September in the Northeast, extending into November and even late December for a few tardy individuals. Dates are similar across the northern part of the range.

Typically avoids crossing large bodies of water (Palmer 1988).

Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: BREEDING: varies from bottomland hardwoods and riparian areas (Stewart 1949, Henny et al. 1973, Bednarz and Dinsmore 1981, Kimmel and Fredrickson 1981, Woodrey 1986, Preston et al. 1989) to upland deciduous or mixed deciduous-conifer forest (Titus and Mosher 1981, Armstrong and Euler 1983, Morris and Lemon 1983, Crocoll and Parker 1989). Nesting areas are almost always found near some form of water, such as a swamp, marsh, river, or pond (Preston et al. 1989, Bosakowski et al. 1992), and the habitat is usually well forested (Portnoy and Dodge 1979, Kimmel and Fredrickson 1981, Titus and Mosher 1981, Morris and Lemon 1983, Ebbers 1989). Further, nesting habitat typically is mature forest with a well-developed high canopy and variable amounts of understory vegetation (Postupalsky 1980, Titus and Mosher 1981, Armstrong and Euler 1983, Morris and Lemon 1983, Titus 1984, Preston et al. 1989.). Sometimes occurs in coniferous stands in the West. In California, has been expanding range of occupied habitats to include various woodlands, including stands of eucalyptus trees amid urban sprawl (Ehrlich et al. 1992).

The nest is usually built in the main crotch of a large, living tree in mature forest, although in Florida, palmettos may be used. In eastern North America, nests generally are far from forest edges. At least 43 species of mainly deciduous trees have been chosen, so that the size and shape seem more important than the actual species (Bednarz 1979, Apfelbaum and Seelbach 1983, Titus and Mosher 1987, Palmer 1988, Ebbers 1989). The bulky structure of twigs, rather flat on top, is typically placed approximately halfway up the tree in the lower portion of the canopy (Morris et al. 1982, Titus and Mosher 1987). The typical height is between 11-15 m but can range from 1.5-33.5 m (Peck and James 1983, Ebbers 1989). The nest is lined with stems, leaves, lichen, and bark. Active nests are decorated with greenery and other materials. Hemlock and other conifer sprigs are often mentioned as nest greenery, as are deciduous sprigs once they have leafed out, and Bent (1937) mentioned such plants as flowering violets and nightshade. Other materials have included cornstalks, ears, and husks, dried tent caterpillar webs, tissue paper, twine, and nests of eastern wood-pewee, red-eyed vireo, and northern oriole (Palmer 1988).

In eastern North America, may use nest used previously by barred owl (STRIX VARIA) (and vice versa) (Palmer 1988). See Dijak et al. (1990) for information on nest-site characteristics affecting success and reuse of nests in Missouri.

NON-BREEDING: less restricted than that used for breeding; favors lowland areas near water, either standing or running, including river valleys, swamps, marshes, and perhaps canyon bottoms (Palmer 1988), and level, open country with scattered large trees (Bent 1937). In Florida, Bohall and Collopy (1984) found hawks most often in open areas such as pastures and fallow fields.

Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Diet varies regionally and seasonally, sometimes annually depending on availability. Common prey items include snakes of moderate size; amphibians up to bullfrog size; mammals mostly from shrew to chipmunk size; small lizards and young turtles; relatively few birds to grackle size; a few small fishes; a few crayfishes; insects in considerable numbers, usually of cricket and large grasshopper size; and miscellaneous invertebrates such as centipedes, earthworms, and snails (Palmer 1988). In northeastern North America, juvenile chipmunks are important prey during the hawk nestling period (Portnoy and Dodge 1979, Morris 1980, Johnson 1989, In Iowa, Bednarz and Dinsmore (1985) Iowa observed that the proportion of prey types changed dramatically between years, with mammals dominating one year and amphibians and arthropods the next year. Apparently the change in prey type had no effect on productivity between the two years.

Hunts beneath forest canopy and in more open nearby terrain that is preferably moist or near water; hunts from perch or flies low and attacks prey from close range (Palmer 1988). In Iowa, hunted in small clearings averaging a few hectares (see Bushman and Therres 1988).

Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 48 centimeters
Weight: 643 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary
Stewardship Overview: A large woodland hawk, widespread in the eastern United States, extreme southeastern Canada, California and Mexico. Once the most common woodland hawk in the eastern region, this hawk is now much reduced in the northern part of its range. In many areas it has been replaced by the red-tailed hawk as the most common hawk. This decline came largely before 1970, and in the northeastern part of its range, some areas have seen the beginnings of recovery since that date. In the Northcentral states, the hawk is still declining, or stable at very low population size. In the southern part of its range, it is much more common. A species of large stands of mature hardwoods, or mixed hardwoods and conifers. It requires mature canopy structure with large, low-branching hardwoods for nesting, and prefers areas with wetland openings nearby. To maintain this species, particularly in its northern range, will require comprehensive forest management planning. Research on the status, productivity and response to various management practices is needed.
Restoration Potential: The potential for restoration in areas now devoted to agriculture or those now subject to urban/suburban sprawl is obviously low. The potential for recovery in forested and reforesting parts of its range is good (Crocoll and Parker 1988), but only if these forests are allowed to develop a mature canopy structure. It is also important to retain tracts sufficiently large to support breeding pairs. This will depend upon the cooperation of private landowners, as well as managers of public lands in each state. Compatible timber management may be possible, but has yet to be demonstrated. In Michigan, cooperative efforts by state forest and wildlife managers have begun and may provide the opportunity to monitor and develop compatible management of hardwood stands. Active management of land for hawks and preservation of large stands of mixed deciduous and coniferous trees are warranted to maintain viable populations of this species in the northern part of its range.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Much of the literature indicates the need for large stands of forest for maintenance of breeding hawks. Bednarz and Dinsmore (1981) stated that red-shoulders needed a minimum of 250 ha of forest area for breeding in floodplain habitats. In most areas seem to need tracts of at least 100-250 ha (but may use smaller forest patch if it is part of a larger forested ecosystem) (Bushman and Therres 1988). Generally replaced by the red-tailed hawk in fragmented open forests. Bryant (1986), however, found that even in small woodlots of less than 5 ha red-shoulders were not replaced by red-tailed hawks when mature canopy structure was retained. Average size of woodlots occupied by red-shoulders in his southern Ontario study was only 17.5 ha. The necessary size of woodlot is clearly an issue that needs to be resolved. If large tracts are generally necessary, this requirement limits the potential for private land to provide refugia for this species. This is especially true in areas where urban or suburban development pressures are extreme. The large blocks of both upland and wetland forest in state and federal ownership in many states are therefore the most likely sites for the hawk. Reversion of abandoned farmland to forest offers potential future sites for reestablishment or expansion of present populations.
Management Requirements: While the urgency of special management is at present uneven across its range, over the long-run the requirement for mature forest habitat will continue to place it in jeopardy. Unless forest management plans take into account the special needs of the species, it is likely that the next round of forest harvest will impact hawks at least as severely as the first round. Starting from the current depressed populations, this could easily lead to the extirpation of this species from some regions. Management involves the management of both habitat and people. These procedures generally follow those for other forest-interior breeding birds (Bushman and Therres 1988), and recent management suggestions for the red-shouldered hawk specifically (Hands et al. 1989).

Timber practices have a significant impact on populations. Bednarz and Dinsmore (1981) maintained that tree densities on the order of 150 to 400 trees per acre are desirable. For the northeastern U.S., Peterson and Crocoll (1992) stated that selective cutting that creates small openings in large forest stands may be the best habitat management treatment. Robinson (1991) stated that uneven-age management with small clearings in bottomlands is best. However, too much selective cutting in woodlots may result in replacement of this species by red-tailed hawk. Group selection or standard selection cutting results in small openings scattered throughout a canopy of large overstory hardwoods (Nelson and Titus 1989) with an approximately 70% crown closure (Bushman and Therres 1988). Bryant (1986) theorized that managing for a crown closure of greater than 70% should prevent red-tailed hawks from displacing red-shouldered hawks. However, there is disagreement on the value of small clearings and the best structure of forests. Some studies show that small clearings benefit red-tailed hawks more than red-shoulders (Hands et al. 1989). Ebbers (1989) found that of two areas studied, the one with higher recruitment had taller nest trees, higher density and dominance indices; in other words, more mature forest structure. The latter study did not present forest structure in terms of canopy closure, but did present data showing that wetland openings averaged only 3% of habitat within a 1-km radius of 30 nest sites in northern Lower Michigan. Although no definitive management recommendations can yet be made, research suggests that establishment and maintenance of mature to overmature bottomland stands of at least 250 ha with > 70% crown closure, appropriately shaped nest trees, and open wetland inclusions should be the goal of red-shouldered management.

In active nesting areas, human use and passage should be minimized or prohibited during nesting season (approximately March through July for the northern range). Disturbances in the nesting territory should be minimized until the young are at least two weeks old (Bushman and Therres 1988). The best size for an undisturbed buffer zone around nest sites is not well documented. Recorded distances between nests and human use areas range from 69 to 840 m. Evers (1992) recommmended that a distance of at least 300 ft from the nest should be kept free from human disturbance.

The Allegheny National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan contains guidelines for protecting raptor nests which Nelson and Titus (1989) contended would be useful for managing hawks. These include minimizing disturbances near nest sites, reducing habitat change and closing roads to public use during the breeding season. More details can be found in Nelson and Titus (1989). These management procedures and programs work best as part of a cohesive whole, aimed at management of forest ecosystems, and accomplished through a combination of public relations and education, agency rules and regulations, and environmental laws.

States in the Northeast should each establish a restoration/recovery program, based upon state and regional needs. Recovery teams should work with landowners and foresters to assure that group selection or standard selection cutting is used to best preserve habitat during silvicutural activities.

Monitoring Requirements: The Northeast Raptor Management Symposium and Workshop (Titus et al. 1989) concluded: "It might be that special surveys and research are required to monitor this species, and that BBS, CBC, and hawk migration count data are not suitable for detecting trends." Meaningful raptor surveys are difficult, but a number of methods have been devised and described (Fuller and Mosher 1987). Broadcast vocalizations (conspecific and great horned owl) can facilitate detection of this species in breeding habitat (Balding and Dibble 1984, Fuller and Mosher 1987, Bosakowski and Smith 1989, Preston et al. 1989, Johnson and Chambers 1990). Mosher et al. (1990) determined that broadcasting taped calls gives better results than walking or driving a survey route. A 5-minute call broadcast, followed by 5 minutes of listening proved sufficient to detect most hawks. Peterson and Crocoll (1992) recommended that this method be used to obtain needed population data in the northeastern U.S. See Iverson and Fuller (1991) for information on a method for obtaining a population index that may be useful in determining population trends.

The following paragraphs summarize some actions that would facilitate population monitoring and trend detection.

Data gathered by the Hawk Migration Association of North America should be entered in a central data repository and be made readily available to all researchers. Also, these data records should be better standardized as per the suggestions of Bednarz and Kerlinger (1989) and Titus et al. (1989).

Breeding bird atlases should be coordinated using a common block size and mapping system, and universal codes for breeding criteria. This effort should attempt to survey all blocks in each state or province. A scale for abundance of each species should be employed as was done in Ontario.

BBS data should continue to be gathered, and those routes within the range that are not being run should be activated as soon as possible. Nest sites should be mapped and data collected on each: territory; behavior; distance to nearest water, road, human structure, or known raptor nest; and the chicks banded if possible (Bowles et al. 1984).

Periodic surveys at several permanent survey locations should be conducted in the Northeast during the nesting and wintering periods to assess productivity, mortality, and population stability.

Regular monitoring of contaminant levels in eggs, young, and adults should be conducted, and the effects of these contaminants should be evaluated.

Management Research Needs: Determine the impact of human intrusion on breeding birds. Test the effect of different buffer zone sizes.

Obtain better information on specific habitat requirements for better management of viable populations. This is particularly important in the Northeast where red-shoulders are found in both bottomland floodplain forests and upland forests.

Determine the minimum size of a forest stand necessary to maintain a breeding pair or a viable population of red-shoulders.

Monitor the impact of red-tailed on red-shouldered hawks and study the effect of various silvicultural activities on adjacent pairs of each species.

Evaluate the importance of breeding and wintering habitat to the survival of red-shoulders. Which is more critical?

See Hands et al. (1989) for additional research and management needs.

Biological Research Needs: Migratory routes and wintering areas in particular should be better identified.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Hawks and Falcons

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Feeding Area, Nest Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Mapping Guidance: If nest site is separated from feeding area by more than 100 meters, map as separate polygons.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance a compromise between usually relatively small home ranges and obvious mobility of these birds. Home ranges variable, ranging from about 0.5 to about 90 square kilometers; the latter figure refers to nests where birds commuted some distance to feeding grounds. A number of studies give mean home ranges on the order of 7 square kilometers, which equates to a circle with a diameter of about 3 kilometers; three times that home range gives a separation distance of about 10 kilometers. Home ranges: Ferruginous Hawk, mean 5.9 square kilometers in Utah (Smith and Murphy 1973); range 2.4 to 21.7 square kilometers, mean 7.0 square kilometers in Idaho (Olendorff 1993); mean 7.6 square kilometers in Idaho (McAnnis 1990); mean 90 square kilometers in Washington (Leary et al. 1998); Red-tailed Hawk, most forage within 3 kilometers of nest (Kochert 1986); mean spring and summer male home ranges 148 hectares (Petersen 1979); Hawaiian Hawk, 48 to 608 hectares (n = 16; Clarkson and Laniawe 2000); Zone-tailed Hawk, little information, apparent home range 1-2 kilometers/pair in west Texas (Johnson et al. 2000); White tailed Kite, rarely hunts more than 0.8 kilometers from nest (Hawbecker 1942); Prairie Falcon, 26 square kilometers in Wyoming (Craighead and Craighead 1956), 59 to 314 square kilometers (reported by Steenhof 1998); Aplomado Falcon, 2.6 to 9.0 square kilometers (n = 5, Hector 1988), 3.3 to 21.4 square kilometers (n = 10, Montoya et al. 1997). Nest site fidelity: high in Zone-tailed Hawk; all seven west Texas nesting territories occupied in 1975 were reused in 1976 (Matteson and Riley 1981). Swainson's Hawk: In California, dispersal distances from natal sites to subsequent breeding sites ranged from 0 to 18 kilometers, mean 8.8 kilometers (Woodbridge et al. 1995); in contrast, none of 697 nestlings in Saskatchewan returned to the study area; three were found 190, 200 and 310 kilometers away (Houston and Schmutz 1995).
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Foraging range variable; 3 kilometers is the mean diameter in several species.
Date: 13Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging area, Roosting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of wintering birds (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, usually minimally a reliable observation of 5 birds (this can be reduced to 1 individual for rarer species). Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. However, occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 15Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 03Jan1995
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: John M. C. Peterson, Discovery Farm, RD #1, Elizabethtown, New York 12932;
Management Information Edition Date: 04Jan1995
Management Information Edition Author: PETERSON, J.M.C.; REVISIONS BY G. HAMMERSON AND D.W. MEHLMAN
Management Information Acknowledgments: Parts of this abstract were originally published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Schneider and Pence (1992). Funding to prepare this report was provided to The Nature Conservancy by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U. S. Forest Service. Many individuals and organizations provided data and assistance. K. Schneider (NY Natural Heritage Program) and L. Master (Nature Conservancy Eastern Heritage Task Force) initiated and coordinated the project and provided information, assistance and guidance throughout. State bird atlas data were provided and/or reviewed by the following individuals: A. Hutchinson (ME), S. Laughlin (VT), E. Hentcy, C. Foss and S. Sutcliff (NH), J. Baird (MA), R. Enser (RI), L. Bevier (CT), W. Sabin and R. Miller (NY), D. Brauning (PA), D. Hughes (NJ), R. West (DE), G. Therres (MD), S. Ridd and R. Wadja (VA), C. Stihler and A. R. Buckelew, Jr. (WV). Computer expertise was provided by J. Ozard (NY). J. Cox (FL), R. Cicerello (KY), R. Martin (LA), D. Rice (OH), J. Cely (SC), C. Nicholson (TN) provided Breeding Bird Atlas data for their states. BBS data were provided by S. Droege of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Additional state specific information that contributed significantly to this report was supplied by state nongame and fish and wildlife agencies and The Nature Conservancy's network of state Natural Heritage Programs. The authors would like to thank Mark Fuller, Glen Johnson and Gerry Smith for comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. Leni Wilsmann reviewed the April 1992 revision.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 29Mar1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G.

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