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White-tailed Hawk

Buteo albicaudatus ORDER: ACCIPITRIFORMES FAMILY: ACCIPITRIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A stocky hawk of open to sparsely wooded, arid regions, the White-tailed Hawk is found from southern Texas to South America. Its white tail with a black band near the tip is unique amongst North American hawks.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
18.1–22.8 in
46–58 cm
Wingspan
52 in
132 cm
Weight
31–43.6 oz
880–1235 g
Other Names
  • Buse à queue blanche (French)
  • Gavilán coliblanco, Gavilán tejé, Aguilucho cabecinegro (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Unlike most Buteo hawks, the wing feathers of a perched adult White-tailed Hawk extend noticeably beyond the tail. A juvenile bird has a tail up to 15% longer than an adult, and its wing feathers barely surpass the tip of its tail.
  • Occupying discontinuous breeding areas from southern Texas to Argentina, the White-tailed Hawk claims the widest latitudinal distribution (29°N to 44°S) of any Buteo and has successfully colonized several Caribbean islands.
  • The oldest White-tailed Hawk was a female, and at least 10 years, 7 months old, when she was found in Texas.

Habitat


Grassland

Open country, primarily savanna, prairie and arid habitats of mesquite, cacti and bushes, very rarely in open forest.

Food


Mammals

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–4 eggs
Condition at Hatching
Helpless and covered in down.
Nest Placement

Tree

Behavior


Soaring

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

White-tailed Hawk populations in Texas seem to be stable or increasing. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 2 million birds with 1% living in the U.S., and 6% in Mexico. The species rates a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.

Credits

Range Map Help

White-tailed Hawk Range Map
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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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