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Red-shouldered Hawk

Buteo lineatus


Accipitridae, the hawk and eagle family

Conservation Status:

Least Concern IUCN.


Eastern North American, plus costal California.


Mature deciduous or mixed deciduous-conifer forests and swamps.


Although often mobbed by crows, the relationship is not always one-sided. They may try to steal food from each other or cooperate to attack and chase great horned owls away.

This is a large, broad-winged hawk with a long tail and heavy body, rusty red on the upper parts of the wings. In flight, black-and-white striped flight feathers become visible. The tail is banded and is light below, dark above. The legs are yellow and the eyes black.

Their diet consists of small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, small birds and large insects. They search for prey from a treetop or soar over woodlands then drop directly onto it.
Adults are vulnerable to predation only when incubating; eggs and may be taken by great-horned owls and raccoons.

They are monogamous. Courtship displays occur on the breeding grounds, usually in late morning and early afternoon. The breeding season is between April and July and the same nest is used from year to year. 2-5 eggs are laid and incubation begins with the first or second one, and lasts for 33 days. Chicks leave the nest at 6 weeks but are fed for another 9 weeks, becoming independent at about 18 weeks, although they may still roost in or near the nest.


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