White-tailed Hawk Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A big, eagle-like hawk with very broad wings that narrow or pinch in slightly where they meet the body. The wings are also very long, and the wingtips extend past the tail tip at rest. The legs are fairly long.

    Relative Size

    Slightly larger than a Swainson’s Hawk, smaller than a Bald Eagle.

    Relative Sizebetween crow and goosebetween crow and goose
    • Male
      • Length: 18.1-20.5 in (46-52 cm)
      • Weight: 31.0-43.6 oz (880-1235 g)
      • Wingspan: 50.4-51.6 in (128-131 cm)
    • Female
      • Length: 18.9-22.8 in (48-58 cm)

Regional Differences

Although there are three named subspecies of White-tailed Hawk, only one (hypospodius) occurs in the United States; it ranges south to northern Colombia and western Venezuela. Two other subspecies (colonus and albicaudatus) occur in South America.

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