Red-Tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), are a common site in the Basin and Range region and are probably one of the most common hawks in all of the North America. They are often seen perching on power or fence lines, flying high over fields or catching a thermal updraft.
Red-Tailed Hawks belong to the genus Buteo. Hawks in this genus have broad, rounded wings; relatively short tails; and soaring flight. These hawks have a variety of color morphs, but typically they are rich brown on their backs. Their fronts tend to be light with some brown streaking and a dark belly band. When you look at them in flight from below, they have a dark bar that runs along the front of edge of their wing. Adult birds have the characteristic cinnamon color tail which the birds are named after. Young birds don't have the red tail.
From their perches and while in flight, red-tailed hawks search for small mammals and birds that make up their diet. Red-tailed hawks prefer open field habitat including; desert, scrublands, grasslands, and roadsides. These open areas allow for good hunting.
Lukas, David. Watchable Birds of the Great Basin. Missoula, Mont.: Mountain Press Pub. Co., 1999.
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