Buteo jamaicensis - (Gmelin, 1788)
Red-tailed Hawk
Other English Common Names: red-tailed hawk
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Buteo jamaicensis (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) (TSN 175350)
French Common Names: buse à queue rousse
Spanish Common Names: Aguililla Cola Roja
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103000
Element Code: ABNKC19110
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
Image 11060

© Jeff Nadler

 
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
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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 jamaicensis
Taxonomic Comments: Includes B. harlani, formerly regarded as a separate species (AOU 1998). See Mindell (1983) for information on the taxonomic status of harlani.

The phylogenetic status of the nominal subspecies needs to be evaluated with genetic techniques; do the geographic color variations represent distinct evolutionary lineages?
Conservation Status
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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: Large range in North and Central America; increasing or stable populations in most areas of the U.S.and Canada; no significant threats on a global scale.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5N,N5M (08Jan2018)

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), Alaska (S4S5B), Arizona (S5), Arkansas (S5), California (SNR), Colorado (S5B,S5N), Connecticut (S5), Delaware (S5), District of Columbia (S3N), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Idaho (S4), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4), Iowa (S5B,S5N), Kansas (S5), Kentucky (S4S5B,S4S5N), Louisiana (S4B,S5N), Maine (S3N,S5B), Maryland (S5B,S5N), Massachusetts (S5B,S5N), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNRB,SNRN), Mississippi (S5B), Missouri (S5), Montana (S5B), Navajo Nation (S5), Nebraska (S4), Nevada (S5), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (S5B,S5N), New Mexico (S5B,S5N), New York (S5), North Carolina (S5B,S5N), North Dakota (SNRB,SNRN), Ohio (S5), Oklahoma (S5), Oregon (S5), Pennsylvania (S5B,S5N), Rhode Island (S5B,S5N), South Carolina (SNRB,SNRN), South Dakota (S5B), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5B), Utah (S4S5), Vermont (S3S4B,S5N), Virginia (S4), Washington (S5B,S5N), West Virginia (S5B,S5N), Wisconsin (S5B,S4N), Wyoming (S5B)
Canada Alberta (S5B), British Columbia (S5B), Labrador (S3S4B,SUM), Manitoba (S5B), New Brunswick (S4), Northwest Territories (S4B), Nova Scotia (S5), Ontario (S5), Prince Edward Island (S4B), Quebec (S4?), Saskatchewan (S5B,S5M,S1N), Yukon Territory (S4B)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Not at Risk (01Apr1995)
Comments on COSEWIC: This is a widespread species with no evidence of decline and no obvious limiting factors.

Designated Not at Risk in April 1995.

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: BREEDS: western and central Alaska, central Yukon, western Mackenzie, northern Saskatchewan, northern Manitoba, central Ontario, southern Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia south to southeastern Alaska, Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and Florida, and highlands of Middle America to Costa Rica and western Panama (east to Canal Zone); in Tres Marias and Socorro islands off western Mexico; and in northern Bahamas (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros), Greater Antilles, and northern Lesser Antilles (Saba south to Nevis) (AOU 1983). WINTERS: southern Canada south through remainder of breeding range, also in lowlands of Central America. In the U.S., most abundant in winter in California-western Nevada and in the farming and ranching region of the central U.S. (Root 1988). Accidental in England and Bermuda (AOU 1983).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Short-term Trend: Increase of >10%
Short-term Trend Comments: Breeding Bird Survey data indicate a significant population increase in North America between 1966 and 1993 (Droege and Sauer 1990, Peterjohn et al. 1994, Price et al. 1995). May be decreasing in the northeastern U.S. (Bednarz et al. 1990). However, Titus and Fuller (1990) found no consistent trend in migration counts in northeastern North America, 1972-1987. Decreases in migration counts may in part reflect a larger proportion of birds wintering in the north (Kirk et al. 1995). See Walter (1990) for an account of the small but viable population of subspecies SOCORROENSIS on Soccoro Island, Mexico. See Kirk (1995 COSEWIC report) for information on status in Canada.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: western and central Alaska, central Yukon, western Mackenzie, northern Saskatchewan, northern Manitoba, central Ontario, southern Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia south to southeastern Alaska, Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and Florida, and highlands of Middle America to Costa Rica and western Panama (east to Canal Zone); in Tres Marias and Socorro islands off western Mexico; and in northern Bahamas (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros), Greater Antilles, and northern Lesser Antilles (Saba south to Nevis) (AOU 1983). WINTERS: southern Canada south through remainder of breeding range, also in lowlands of Central America. In the U.S., most abundant in winter in California-western Nevada and in the farming and ranching region of the central U.S. (Root 1988). Accidental in England and Bermuda (AOU 1983).

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 AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NS, NT, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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: NatureServe, 2002; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Ada (16001), Adams (16003), Bannock (16005), Bear Lake (16007), Blaine (16013), Bonneville (16019), Boundary (16021), Camas (16025), Cassia (16031), Clark (16033), Custer (16037), Franklin (16041), Fremont (16043), Gem (16045), Gooding (16047), Idaho (16049), Lincoln (16063), Madison (16065), Nez Perce (16069), Oneida (16071), Owyhee (16073), Payette (16075), Teton (16081), Valley (16085), Washington (16087)
NM Socorro (35053)
WA Clallam (53009)+
WY Sublette (56035)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
13 Jornada Del Muerto (13020210)+
14 Upper Green (14040101)+, New Fork (14040102)+
16 Central Bear (16010102)+, Middle Bear (16010202)+, Curlew Valley (16020309)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Palisades (17040104)+, Idaho Falls (17040201)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Teton (17040204)+, Willow (17040205)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Raft (17040210)+, Goose (17040211)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, Big Lost (17040218)+, Big Wood (17040219)+, Camas (17040220)+, Little Wood (17040221)+, Bruneau (17050102)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Upper Owyhee (17050104)+, Middle Owyhee (17050107)+, Jordan (17050108)+, Boise-Mores (17050112)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Middle Snake-Payette (17050115)+, Payette (17050122)+, North Fork Payette (17050123)+, Weiser (17050124)+, Brownlee Reservoir (17050201)+, Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103)+, Upper Salmon (17060201)+, Pahsimeroi (17060202)+, Lower Salmon (17060209)+, Little Salmon (17060210)+, South Fork Clearwater (17060305)+, Dungeness-Elwha (17110020)
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A hawk.
Reproduction Comments: Clutch size commonly is 2-3. Incubation lasts about 34 days per egg, mostly by female. Young are tended by both parents, may leave nest at about 4 weeks, fly at about 6.5-7 weeks, depend on parents for food for at least a few weeks after fledging. If clutch lost, renests usually in another nest a few weeks later. Successful reproduction usually does not occur before age 2 years. Pair bond typically lifelong, at least in nonmigratory populations and probably in migrants as well.
Ecology Comments: Breeding density (pairs /sq. km) varies from 0.03 (Utah) to 0.78 (California); mostly less than 0.025 (but 0.2-0.6 pairs/sq. km in different habitats in Puerto) (Santana 1988, Rothfels and Lein 1983). In Puerto Rico, remains paired and defends territory throughout the year (Santana 1988). Also territorial in winter in at least some parts of the U.S. In a largely sedentary population in Wisconsin, mean seasonal home ranges varied as follows: fall male 390 ha (n=1), female 123 ha (n=2); winter male 157 ha (n=3), female 167 ha (n=6); spring male 163 ha (n=2), female 85 ha (n=6); summer male 117 ha (n=1), female 117 ha (n=5) (Petersen 1979). Most forage within 3 kilometers of the nest (Kochert 1986). See Palmer (1988) for discussion of interactions with other hawks and Great Horned Owl.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Northern populations mainly migratory (some breeders resident on or near territories all year), generally arrive in northern breeding areas in March and April (yearlings may still be migrating as late as May and June), depart by September-October (Bent 1937), may continue southward movement into December. Migrations may be influenced by food supply. Most migrants from north migrate no farther south than northern Mexico (Palmer 1988).
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cliff, Cropland/hedgerow, Desert, Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Grassland/herbaceous, Old field, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Wide variety of open woodland and open country with scattered trees, rarely in denser forest (AOU 1983), but nests in forest and takes prey from forest canopy in Puerto Rico (Recher and Recher 1966, Santana 1988). Elevated perches are important element of habitat.

Nests in trees to 37 m above ground, frequently high in tallest tree near edge of woods; also, in treeless country, in top of shrub, cactus, or on cliff. Often returns to same nesting area in successive years.

Adult Food Habits: Carnivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore
Food Comments: Opportunistic. Rodents, lagomorphs, birds, and reptiles common in diet but also eats various other vertebrates and sometimes invertebrates as available. Among several hunting methods, perch-and-wait most common and yields greatest success (Palmer 1988). Also perches and hunts along highways.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Phenology Comments: Rain and fog reduce flying activity and foraging time in forest birds in Puerto Rico (Santana 1988).
Length: 56 centimeters
Weight: 1224 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Monitoring Requirements: See Fuller and Mosher (1987) and Balding and Dibble (1984) for information on survey techniques.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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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
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 08Dec1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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