Common Name: Red-Shouldered Hawk
Scientific Name: Buteo lineatus
Description: Adults have brownish heads, reddish chests, and pale bellies with reddish bars. Their tails, which are quite long by Buteo standards, are marked with narrow white bars. Red “shoulders” are visible when the birds are perched. These hawks’ upper parts are dark with pale spots and they have long yellow legs. Western birds may appear more red, while Florida birds are generally paler. The wings of adults are more heavily barred on the upper side.
Distribution: An eastern population ranges west through southern Canada from southern New Brunswick and Ontario to the eastern edge of the U.S. Great Plains, south to Florida, the Gulf Coast, and eastern Mexico. Only northernmost populations are migratory. A western population breeds west of the Sierra Nevada from northern California to northern Baja California, and has recently expanded into Oregon and Arizona, and east of the Sierra Nevada in California and southern Nevada.
Habitat: Red-shouldered hawks are forest raptors. In the east, they live in bottomland hardwood stands, flooded deciduous swamps, and upland mixed deciduous–conifer forests. They tend to live in stands with an open subcanopy, which makes hunting easier. They are not exclusively birds of deep forest, though; one can find red-shouldered hawks in some suburban areas where houses or other buildings are mixed into woodlands. In the west, they live in riparian and oak woodlands, and also in eucalyptus groves and some residential areas.