Red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus) are found year-round in California, along the Gulf coast, Midwest, and in the eastern parts of the United States. These birds are also found in central Mexico and in southern Canada during part of the year.
Red-shouldered hawks are approximately 18 – 22 inches as measured from the tip of the tail to the beak. They have slim bodies with reddish-brown underparts on their wings and belly. Following the reddish-brown underparts is a grey and white striped section that reaches from the tips of their wing and down to the end of their tail.
During the warm months, red-shouldered hawks eat a variety of small animals and amphibians, including various fish, insects, frogs, snakes, crayfish, and lizards. In colder weather, they are likely to eat small birds, mice, rabbits,
tree squirrels, chipmunks, and more.
Importance to our Ecosystem
These birds play an important role in our ecosystem and help farmers by reducing the population of mice, moles, and other rodents that may cause problems for their crops. Red-shouldered hawks help control other populations of other small animals rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. The nests they build also provide habitat for other smaller bird species such as house sparrows
Image source: The Cornell Lab for educational purposes only.
Red-shouldered hawks are found year-round in California, along the gulf coast, Midwest, and eastern parts of the United States. These birds are also found in central Mexico and in southern Canada during part of the year.
Red-shouldered hawks live in riparian areas, often just below the tree canopy along streams and other areas of shallow water or low-lying wetlands where water mixes near the oak woodlands. In California, you may also find them living in eucalyptus groves and some urban and suburban park neighbors.
One of the most vocal raptors, the red-shouldered hawk gives high scream: keeyah! This call is repeated often, especially by flying birds during spring and summer. Blue Jays may imitate this call using it to scare other birds away from bird feeders.
Red-shouldered hawks are likely to return to the same area for nesting and may reuse or rebuild an old nest year after year.