Top 10 Facts About Red-Tailed and Other Hawks
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…
- The red-tailed hawk is the most common hawk in the United States. It lives in deserts, forests and cities.
- In Native American cultures, hawks are revered for their keen sense of sight and ability to fly at great heights.
- The red-tailed hawk’s average weight is three pounds. Females are about 25-percent heavier than males.
- Their flying speed is 20-40 m.p.h. They can reach up to 120 m.p.h. when diving.
- Their diet includes small mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects.
- During the Middle Ages, artists suggested nobility or high social class by depicting a hawk on the arm of a man on horseback.
- Red-tailed hawks mate for life.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Philip Arnold, associate professor and chair of religion
- Matilde Mateo, associate research professor of art history
- James Watts, professor of religion