Red-shouldered Hawk Identification

The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    Red-shouldered Hawks are medium-sized, with broad, rounded wings and medium-length tails that they fan out when soaring. In flight, they often glide or soar with their wingtips pushed slightly forward, imparting a distinctive, “reaching” posture.

    Relative Size

    Noticeably smaller than a Red-tailed Hawk; larger than a Broad-winged Hawk.

    Relative Sizebetween crow and goosebetween crow and goose
    Measurements
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 16.9-24.0 in (43-61 cm)
      • Weight: 17.1-27.3 oz (486-774 g)
      • Wingspan: 37.0-43.7 in (94-111 cm)

Regional Differences

Red-shouldered Hawks in the Northeast tend to be brownish overall. Florida birds have very pale, grayish heads, while those in California are very richly colored with a rusty head.