Red-tailed Hawks are one of the most abundantly found Hawks in North America. The breeding, feeding, and habitats of these birds have been studied extensively as they are very common. Here are some facts and attributes associated with these magnificent creatures!
10 Amazing Facts About Red-tailed Hawks
1. There are over 2,000,000 Red-tailed Hawks in the world!
Red-tailed Hawks are common hawks with steady populations throughout the world. Actually, in most regions, their populations are increasing. This species experienced a boom in the mid 20th century when several parks and woodlands were being established.
2. Red-tailed Hawks have over 16 subspecies!
There is great variation in the range of Red-tailed Hawks! These birds are mostly distinguished through their coloration and tail markings. Size can also be an identifying factor for these subspecies, but it is hard to recognize geographic trends in the appearance of these birds.
3.Bonded pairs make magnificent aerial displays to maintain their relationship!
These birds of prey are seasonally monogamous, especially in sedentary populations. During the breeding season, both members of the pair aggressively defend their territories. The size of each territory is dependant on the availability of food and the habitat they live in.
4.Red-tailed Hawks are “sit-and-wait” predators!
These birds of prey perch on high structures such as tree branches, so they need habitats with an appropriate density of trees. They inhabit rainforests and tropical forests. Some open land is also needed in their habitat. Bats are one prey that Red-tailed Hawks love. They also prey on other flying animals that are abundantly available in their feeding regions. Their diet includes carrion (dead animals), reptiles, amphibians, birds, arthropods, and mammals.
5.Red-tailed Hawks can adjust to development!
These birds can flourish in areas undergoing extensive agricultural and urban development if there isn’t a scarcity of food. Some Red-tailed Hawks also breed in urban environments. These birds are highly adaptable and can intelligently adapt to several different environments. They maintain steady populations in environments that are undergoing rapid changes.
6.A couple of aggressive Red-tailed Hawks reached their untimely demise in New Mexico.
Physical interactions between Red-tailed Hawks are generally aggressive. These birds use their talons and wings to drive off intruders. Aerial displays and vocalizations are common during these encounters which can lead to serious injuries to everyone involved. In January 2003, a couple of female Red-tailed Hawks were found dead locked together with their talons. It seems like they ran into a transformer during their interaction and got electrocuted.
7.Red-tailed Hawks use physical signals to communicate while defending their territory!
Red-tailed Hawks maintain an aggressive posture while trying to drive away intruders. This includes their body being upright with the feathers on their breast, neck, and head being erect. To further escalate this confrontation, they sometimes lean slightly forward while fixing their eyes on the intruder. In contrast, maintaining a submissive posture includes holding their head low while their feathers are kept close to their body. Flight displays are also a common method for displaying aggression. Red-tailed Hawks that are performing exaggerated wingbeats while circling their opponent are participating in aggressive encounters. Vocalizations such as screams are also a part of these displays. Some of these displays are performed repeatedly to scare and tire the intruder.
8.Most Red-tailed Hawk deaths are due to human interference!
Brood parasitism is one major reason for the death of Red-tailed Hawk, resulting in a 14% mortality rate in hatchlings. Infections such as granulomotous, sarcocystosis, myocarditis, and mycobacteriosis commonly plague these birds and often result in death. Larger predators such as Great Horned Owls are responsible for many Red-tailed Hawk deaths. Although other factors might dominate the mortality rates in certain regions, human-related causes are the most common reason for mortality for this species. Collisions with structures such as aircraft and automobiles, along with shooting, electrocution, and trapping are some of these causes.
9.Red-tailed Hawk populations experienced a boom in the 20th century!
In previous years, Red-shouldered Hawks were much more present than Red-tailed Hawks, but this changed in the 20th century. During this time, these birds expanded their range and population. These expansions can be credited to forest fires and deforestation which provided Red-tailed Hawks with open forests. Even now, the Red-tailed Hawk populations are growing when dense forest cover is reduced due to factors such as wildfires or insect infestation.
10.Shooting has historically been the biggest threat for Red-tailed Hawk populations!
Although Red-tailed Hawks are not very bothered by human disturbance, shooting was a factor that was largely affecting their populations in the past. Human interference with their nests and habitats has also been a cause for concern in the past. Fortunately, shooting these birds has reduced significantly since the mid-20th century. Back in this time, these birds were shot to be displayed on fences.
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Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Red-tailed Hawks
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