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The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is one of the most widespread and recognizable birds of prey in North America. Visit our Birds of Prey exhibit to admire these majestic raptors up close. Let’s dive into some exciting facts about their diet, habitat, size, and conservation status, as well as unique characteristics that make the Red-tailed Hawk a true marvel of nature.
Red-tailed Hawks are carnivorous predators, primarily feeding on small to medium-sized mammals such as rodents, rabbits, and squirrels. Their diet also includes reptiles, amphibians, and other birds. They are skilled hunters, utilizing their keen eyesight and powerful talons to capture prey both on the ground and in the air.
Red-tailed Hawks inhabit a diverse range of habitats across North America, from forests and grasslands to deserts and urban areas. They can be found throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as in parts of Central America. These adaptable raptors prefer open areas with elevated perches, such as trees, cliffs, or poles, which they use to scan for prey.
Red-tailed Hawks are large birds of prey, with a wingspan ranging from 38 to 43 inches (97 to 110 cm). Their body length typically measures between 18 to 26 inches (45 to 65 cm), and they weigh between 1.5 to 3.5 pounds (0.7 to 1.6 kg). Females are generally larger and heavier than males.
The Red-tailed Hawk is currently listed as “Least Concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Their population is considered stable and widespread across their range. However, they may face local threats such as habitat loss, pesticide exposure, and collisions with vehicles or man-made structures.
During your visit to the Abilene Zoo, be sure to stop by our Elm Creek Backyard to observe the awe-inspiring Red-tailed Hawk. With their impressive size, powerful presence, and iconic red tail, these raptors are a must-see for bird enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. By learning about their unique adaptations and the important role they play in the ecosystem, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for these magnificent birds of prey.