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Red-tailed Hawk

(Buteo jamaicensis)



©Greg Gothard 1995

Red-tailed Hawks can be seen all over the United States searching for food or just having fun playing on the updrafts.

This Juvenile was banded and photographed at Hawk Hill. Be sure to go to the "Hawk Talk" and banding demonstration. They are given mid September through mid October, weather permitting, on Saturdays and Sundays at noon and 1:00PM respectively.

Length: 19 inches

Wingspan: 49 inches

Weight: Male - 880-1000 grams; female - 1250-1500 grams (2.2 lb to the kilogram)


Adult-Juvenile Comparison

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

Adult Red-tailed Hawk

Adult Red-tailed Hawk

Photos ©Greg Gothard 1999

As you can see, the juvenile red-tailed hawk does not have a red tail. A red-tailed hawk gets its red tail after the molt in the year after they hatch. The juvenile red-tailed hawk was hatched in 1999 and banded by the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory in August of 1999.

The adult red-tailed hawk has the characteristic red tail that gives this buteo its name.


As you can see, this red-tailed hawk does not have a red tail. A red-tailed hawk gets its red tail after the molt in the year after they hatch. This red-tailed hawk was hatched in 1999 and banded by the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory in August of 1999.

So, how do we know that this is a red-tailed hawk?

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk
©Greg Gothard 1999

You can tell that this is a red-tailed hawk by the dark patagial marks on the underside of the wings. In the photo above, the patagial mark is to the right of my finger on the wing. Red-tailed hawks are the only North American Hawk that has dark patagial marks.

Adult Red-tailed Hawk

Adult Red-tailed Hawk
©Greg Gothard 1997

This photo shows an adult red-tailed hawk. The hawk has a red tail as well as the dark patagial marks.


If you find a bird other than a pigeon with an aluminum band, please call and report the find to The Bird Banding Laboratory. The call is toll-free and the number is 1-800-327-BAND (2263) from anywhere in Canada, the United States and most parts of the Caribbean. Please have all the information on the bird band with you when you call. They will need to know the band number, location you found the bird, the date you found the bird, and how you got the band as well as your name and address. The sole purpose of 1-800-327-BAND is to make it convenient for people to report recoveries of birds banded with service bands. Please do not use this number to call about other matters. The 1-800 number is NOT for reporting pigeon bands . The Bird Banding Laboratory does not keep any records on the bands used on pigeons.

Contact the GGRO:

Mail:
Golden Gate Raptor Observatory
Building 201, Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123

Phone:
(415) 331-0730

E-mail address:
ggro@parksconservancy.org


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