The Red-tailed hawk breeds throughout most of North America from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West Indies, and is one of the most common buteos in North America. There are fourteen recognized subspecies, which vary in appearance and range. 19-23 in. white chest light v marks It is one of the largest members of the genus Buteo in North America, weighing from 690 to 2000 grams (1.5 to 4.4 pounds) and measuring 45–65 cm (18 to 26 in) in length, with a wingspan from 110 to 145 cm (43 to 57 in). The Red-tailed Hawk displays sexual dimorphism in size, as females are 25% larger than males. Red-tailed Hawk plumage can be variable, depending on the subspecies. These color variations are called morphs, and a Red-tailed Hawk may be light, dark, or rufus.
The Red-tailed Hawk is successful in large part because it tolerates a wide range of habitats and altitudes, including deserts, grasslands, coniferous and deciduous forests, tropical rain forests, agricultural fields and urban areas. It lives throughout the North American continent, except in areas of unbroken forest or the high arctic.It is also legally protected in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
The Red-tailed Hawk is a popular bird in falconry, particularly in North America. Approximately 60% of all raptors under 1 year of age taken from the wild for use in American falconry are Red-tailed Hawks. The Red-tailed Hawk also has significance in Native American culture. Its feathers are considered sacred by some tribes, and are used in religious ceremonies.
The Red-tailed Hawks at Brevard Zoo are non-releasable birds saved from certain death by wildlife rehabilitators.