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Red-tailed Hawk
Buteo jamaicensis

The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is widespread over pretty much all of North America and is a familiar sight to many people, even those not interested in wildlife. The species is incredibly adaptable as to habitat preferences and has learned to live in and around mankind rather well. There is a famous pair in New York City who live among the skyscrapers and hunt squirrels in the parks. Many other urban areas have less well-known Red-taileds as well. This species comes in a wide variety of colors and races. I have seen almost white birds as well as some that are completely black save for the brick-red tail, and almost everything in between. Just a handful of the varieties out there are shown here. Only the adult has the red tail while immature birds generally have a brown tail with thin, dark bands. The immature Red-tailed Hawk shown here was photographed on a fence post in Williams Co., North Dakota, in August, 1999, with a Canon EOS 1N and EF 600m F/4 L lens and 1.4X extender on Fuji Sensia.

 

 

The Red-tailed Hawk here was in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, in August, 1999, and was shot with the same gear as the North Dakota bird preceding.
The next two shots at right show a typical southwestern Red-tail. The shots were taken at Bosque del Apache N.W.R., Socorro Co., New Mexico in November, 2005, with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and EF 500mm F/4 L IS lens and 1.4X extender.
The adult at right was in Marfa, Presidio Co., Texas, in September, 2005, and was photographed with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and EF 600mm F/4 L IS lens and 1.4X extender.
The bird at right is a rufous morph western race Red-tail. I got a few distant shots of this bird in October, 1997, at Togwotee Pass near Dubois, Wyoming, with a Canon T-90 and Sigma 500mm F/4.5 lens and 1.4X extender on Fuji Sensia film.
The individual here was in Socorro Co., New Mexico, in December, 1999. This shot was taken with a Canon EOS 1N and EF 600mm F/4 L lens and 1.4X on Fuji Sensia.
The Red-tailed Hawk at right was perched in a dead tree at Bosque del Apache N.W.R., Socorro Co., New Mexico, in November, 2006. It was shot with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and EF 600mm F/4 L IS lens and 1.4X extender.
The soaring Red-tailed Hawk shown here (probably the Fuertes race) was in Crockett Co., Texas, in May, 2008. This shot was taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark III and EF 500mm F/4 L IS lens and 1.4X extender.
The adult Red-tailed Hawk in the next 3 shots shown here was near Seneca, Union Co., New Mexico, in January 2009. These shots were taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark III and EF 500mm F/4 L IS lens and 1.4X extender.
The Red-tailed Hawk in the shot shown here was making a banking turn near Des Moines, Union Co., New Mexico, in January, 2009. This image was taken with the same gear described above.
The dark "Western" Red-tailed Hawk shown here was near Raton, Colfax Co., New Mexico, in January, 2009.
The Red-taileds in the next 2 shots were at Maxwell N.W.R., Colfax Co., New Mexico, in January, 2009, The same photo gear as above was used.
The dark "Western" Red-tailed Hawk in the next 4 images was near Raton, Colfax Co., New Mexico, in January, 2009.
The image shown here shows an adult "Harlan's" race Red-tailed Hawk at Palo Duro Reservoir, Hansford Co., Texas, in December, 2005. This shot was taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and EF 600mm F/4 L IS lens and 1.4X extender. I had originally identified this shot as a dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk and I thank William S. Clark for getting my misidentification straightened out.
The adult Red-tailed Hawk in the next four shots was near Muleshoe N.W.R., Bailey Co., Texas, in January, 2011. These images were taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and an EF 500mm F/4 L IS lens.