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Red-shouldered Hawk

From Opus

B. l. texanus, adultPhoto by Stanley JonesCamelot Park, Bryan, Brazos County, Texas, USA, September 2014
B. l. texanus, adult
Photo by Stanley Jones
Camelot Park, Bryan, Brazos County, Texas, USA, September 2014
Buteo lineatus


[edit] Identification

B. l. extimus, adultPhoto by tetoneonNaples, Florida, USA, January 2014
B. l. extimus, adult
Photo by tetoneon
Naples, Florida, USA, January 2014

38–47 cm (15-18½ in); females larger

  • Brown head
  • Red chest
  • Pale belly with reddish bars
  • Narrow tail marked with narrow white bars
  • Red "shoulder" is visible when the bird is perched
  • Upper parts dark with pale spots
  • Long yellow legs
  • In flight, distinctive translucent crescent near tips of primaries
  • Very vocal compared to most other raptors
  • Juveniles lack the reddish shoulders and have vertical streaking on the breast. The tail has buff, not white bars.

[edit] Variations

B. l. elegans, adultPhoto by digishooterWofford Heights, Kern Co., California, USA, January 2008
B. l. elegans, adult
Photo by digishooter
Wofford Heights, Kern Co., California, USA, January 2008

The subspecies differ in color intensity, with B. l. extimus the palest, and B. l. elegans the most richly orange; also slight differences in size though this is not useful in the field.

There is less plumage variation between the juveniles of the different subspecies.

[edit] Distribution

Eastern North America and along the coast of California and northern Mexico.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Juvenile Photo by HelenBSE Texas, USA, Dec 2008
Photo by HelenB
SE Texas, USA, Dec 2008

Five subspecies are accepted[1]:

  • B. l. lineatus:
  • South-eastern Canada, north-eastern and central eastern USA
  • B. l. alleni:
  • South-eastern USA (except southern Florida)
  • B. l. extimus:
  • B. l. elegans:
  • B. l. texanus:

The California subspecies B. l. elegans is well separated from the rest of the species' range, and has been suggested as a potential species split, though none of the major authorities have accepted this.

[edit] Habitat

Deciduous and mixed wooded areas, often near water. Quite common in suburban subdivisions with trees, water features and golf courses. Observed at heights around 94m.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

A stick nest is built in a major fork of a large tree and 3 to 4 blotchy marked eggs are laid. They are incubated for 28 to 33 days. The young leave the nest at about six weeks of age, but remain dependent on the parents until they are 17 to 19 weeks old.

[edit] Diet

Includes voles, mice and chipmunks, amphibians, reptiles (especially small snakes), small birds and large insects. They usually hunt from a perch.

[edit] Vocalisation

Call: Loud, strident repeated cries: keeah, keeah, keeah.

[edit] Gallery

Click on photo for larger image

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved July 2016)
  3. BF Member observations

[edit] External Links


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