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Top 10 Facts About Red-Tailed and Other Hawks

Red-tailed hawk on a tree

With special thanks to Dr. Kevin Bell '74, Dean's Advisory Board member, and President & CEO of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, for this wonderful photo. 

Did you know…

  1. The red-tailed hawk is the most common hawk in the United States. It lives in deserts, forests and cities.
  2. In Native American cultures, hawks are revered for their keen sense of sight and ability to fly at great heights.
  3. The red-tailed hawk’s average weight is three pounds. Females are about 25-percent heavier than males.
  4. Their flying speed is 20-40 m.p.h. They can reach up to 120 m.p.h. when diving.
  5. Their diet includes small mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects.
  6. During the Middle Ages, artists suggested nobility or high social class by depicting a hawk on the arm of a man on horseback.
  7. Red-tailed hawks mate for life.
  8. Hawks take about four to seven days to build their nests, usually in tall trees or atop high structures. Nests are made of twigs, bark, leaves and plant matter.
  9. Both adults incubate eggs for 28-32 days. At the 42- to 46-day mark, the young leave their nest, but do not fly for another two to three weeks.
  10. In Ancient Egypt, artists often depicted Horus, god of the sky, with a hawk’s head or body.

Want more? Listen to songs and calls of red-tailed hawks or explore a photo gallery at the National Audubon Society's page on red-tailed hawks.


Information courtesy of:

The College of Arts and Sciences, Syracuse University

Washington Nature Mapping Program
Facts.net