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Merlin Bird ID

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    Red-shouldered Hawk

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    Red-shouldered Hawk

    Buteo lineatus
    • ORDER: Accipitriformes
    • FAMILY: Accipitridae
    Basic Description

    Whether wheeling over a swamp forest or whistling plaintively from a riverine park, a Red-shouldered Hawk is typically a sign of tall woods and water. It’s one of our most distinctively marked common hawks, with barred reddish-peachy underparts and a strongly banded tail. In flight, translucent crescents near the wingtips help to identify the species at a distance. These forest hawks hunt prey ranging from mice to frogs and snakes.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Red-shouldered HawkRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    One of the best ways to find Red-shouldered Hawks is to learn their distinctive whistle. Listen for these birds in and around wet forests, where you may find them hunting from a perch along stream or pond. In spring you may see Red-shouldered Hawks circling high above their nesting territory; they usually show pale crescents near their wingtips, where the sun shines through.

    Other Names
    • Aguililla Pecho Rojo (Spanish)
    • Buse à épaulettes (French)
    • Cool Facts