Estimated 4 years
Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Red-tail, Buzzard hawk
Order Accipitriformes, SI genus Buteo
In the wild, red-tailed hawks eat a wide variety of prey depending on location and season, including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and the occasional bird.
Red-tailed hawks are relatively large hawks that look quite bulky and sturdy. Broad, rounded wings and a wide tail help them efficiently soar through the air. Like other raptors, females are larger than the males and weigh 2.5 to 3 pounds (1.1 to 1.4 kilograms). This species is quite variable across the country in terms of coloration and size. Scout is a western subspecies and a male, so he is fairly small with beautiful striped red tail feathers. He weighs about 2 pounds (900 grams).
The oldest known age for a wild red-tailed hawk is just over 25 years, though the average is less than 10 years. In captivity they can live to their late 20s.
Migration of red-tailed hawks varies and depends on location, making them “partial migrants.” Typically those in the northern parts of Canada and the United States move farther south for the winter, but others reside in one area year-round.
These hawks generally prefer a good vantage point, whether that’s a tall light pole while hunting or a towering tree for nesting. They build large, sturdy stick nests that they will return to year after year (though great horned owls, which don’t build their own nests, often try to claim red-tailed hawk nests as their own).