The red-tailed Hawk is one of the continent’s most widespread and familiar raptors. Three different forms of the red-tailed Hawk are found in North America.

The red-tailed Hawk is a large buteo (hawk with a broad tail and wings), measuring up to 26 inches in length. Although its plumage is variable, the light form of the red-tailed Hawk is brown above and whitish or buff below, with a broad, reddish-brown tail. The whitish underparts are streaked with light-brown. The dark form, generally found in the west, is dark brown throughout with the reddish tail. The Harlan’s form, found in western Canada and Alaska, is dark brown throughout without the red tail.



Small and medium-sized mammals, birds, and reptiles.


The red-tailed Hawk is found in a variety of open-country habitats, including grasslands, open woodlands, fields, parks, suburban areas, and some urban areas. A pair of famous red-tailed Hawks, named Lola and Palemale return to a nest every year on the ledge of an expensive apartment building in New York City. Although the removal of the nest was officially approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the owner of the apartment agreed to build a special platform for future nests after thousands of New York City residents and birding enthusiasts from across the world protested. Today, the hawks continue to nest on the building to the delight of hundreds of birdwatchers. There is even a best-selling book about the pair and a PBS documentary.


The red-tailed Hawk, in its various forms, is found throughout North America and the Caribbean islands.


The red-tailed hawk is common and widespread.