- Buteo lineatus
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.
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.
Five subspecies are accepted:
- B. l. lineatus:
- B. l. alleni:
- South-eastern USA (except southern Florida)
- B. l. extimus:
- Southern Florida
- 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.
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.
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.
Includes voles, mice and chipmunks, amphibians, reptiles (especially small snakes), small birds and large insects. They usually hunt from a perch.
Call: Loud, strident repeated cries: keeah, keeah, keeah.
Click on photo for larger image
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- Dykstra, C. R., J. L. Hays, and S. T. Crocoll (2020). Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.reshaw.01
- BirdForum Member observations
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) Red-shouldered Hawk. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 16 April 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/wiki/Red-shouldered_Hawk