Red-shouldered/Red-tailed Hawk

Both the Red-shouldered Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk are commonly seen around human habitations.  The Red-tailed prefers more open habitat while the Red-shouldered is at home in a more woodland setting.  However different their habitat preferences may seem they can be seen together.  They don’t typically care for one another and the Red-shouldereds usually attack a Red-tailed if it soars too close to a nest during the breeding season.

Red-tailed Hawk (left, with red tail) and Red-shouldered Hawk (right, one with terminal band on tail)

Red-tailed Hawk (left, with red tail) and Red-shouldered Hawk (right, one with terminal band on tail)

They don’t take anything offered at feeders except maybe the occasional bird.  They do like squirrels and chipmunks which are common feeder visitors.  More often than not we, who live in a wooded area, see the Red-tailed Hawk soar overhead and hear the Red-shouldered call in the distance.  We have friends that have nesting Red-shouldereds in their woods and others that have Red-taileds visit their farm.  Not feeder birds but commonly seen around the yard.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

Taxonomically, these two hawks are closely related.  They are in the same genus:  Buteo.  They are in the family Accipitridae with other hawks, eagles, and kites.

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