Red-tailed Hawk

This week for Flora and Fauna Friday we have a high flying easy to ID raptor: the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).

An adult Red-tailed Hawk is one of our easiest raptors to pick out of the sky on any sunny day. That ember-orange plume of tail feathers trailed behind their stocky body and broad wings gives them away with just a glance. When perched, their milky-white throat and underside, brown shoulders, and a patchy band across the belly set them apart from the front. The Red-tailed Hawk is our largest hawk and they’re plenty common year-round across South Carolina. They hunt in open areas and perch high above the ground. You’ll most often see them circling high in the air over fields and clear-cuts. Their call is distinctive as well, a long hoarse scream. A sound Hollywood has long misattributed to the Bald Eagle in TV and films.

Like all raptors, the Red-tailed Hawk is an ambush predatory that uses its keen eyes and hooked claws to drop on prey from above. Their diet is predominantly rodents and other small mammals. They are a major predator of Squirrels, Rabbits, Rats, and Mice. They will also hunt snakes and take out Quail, Ducklings, and Blackbirds. Because of their predatory nature, you’ll commonly see Hawks being chased and harassed by Crows, Kingbirds, and Mockingbirds who see them as a threat to their own peace and quiet.

News & Events

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events!

See The Calendar

Latest News

See more News