Bird of the Week – Red-tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk(Buteo jamaicensis)  This is the hawk that which all other others are compared.  The benchmark, so to speak.  It is one of the largest of the hawks, perhaps the largest.  You can often see it perched along the roadside,  on utility poles, trees, or other high points.  It hunts mostly mammals from these perches, and also from the air.  They are a beautiful bird in flight, their red tail glinting in the sun. 

This image was shot during a trip to Ballinger, Texas.  The hawk was in the grass along the roadside, apparently in the act of feeding on something.  As I slowed, he started to fly.  I was prepared with my Canon EOS 40D with a Canon 100-400mm zoome lens.  I was able to lock-on my auto-focus and pan with him as he flew, continually pressing the shutter.  ISO 400, 1/3200 sec. at f6.3.

Red-tailed Hawk

Sibley’s describes them as stocky, broad winged, with bulging secondaries.  The adult has the distinctive red tail, where the juvenile is much paler.  It sports a length of 19 inches, a wingspan an impressive four feet and one inch.  It weighs in at 2.4 lbs.  More information on these gorgeous birds can be found by clicking on the link at the beginning of this post.

This image was photographed with my Canon EOS 40D, hand-held with a Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter.  Exposure was 1/800 sec. at f6.3 with ISO of 400.

Red-tailed Hawk

I hope you enjoy this information about a majestic bird.  Click on either image for an enlargement.  In the future, my Bird of the Week posts will be on Thursdays, instead of previously mentioned Fridays.

Happy birding!!

19 thoughts on “Bird of the Week – Red-tailed Hawk

  1. Wow, Bob, don’t know how I missed these earlier, these are beautiful shots. I love hawks too, I don’t think it’s just a guy thing. Although a hand-held 500mm lens might be just a guy thing…!

  2. Bob, that first photo is almost a dead ringer for my drawing! It’s a good thing I saw your photo AFTER I had drawn that red-tail or you may have wondered about it. Great shot! And many thanks for confirming my drawing with your camera!

  3. Hi Bob,

    Great Photos. I’m doing a photography course in England, and want to use an image of a Red Tailed Hawk in a collage I’m putting together – do you sell large (6MP+) copies of your photos that I could use?


    The Windsor Boys’ School

    • I sell them any size you want. Send me an e-mail at I need to know what dimensions, either pixels, or inches. Do you want a print that you want me to mail you, or a CD. Give me the specifics and I will know what to do. I will also then quote you a price.

  4. Pingback: Nature In Flight « It Just Dawned On Me

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  6. I watch these fascinating hawks all summer, with their red tails sometimes magically flashing in the sun, but I have never seen them as clearly as this. Fantastic shots, Bob. It’s nice to know they go to visit you when they’re not here. 🙂

    • Fortunately, the bigger the bird, the slower they are getting off the ground, so this wasn’t as hard as it looks. Thanks for all the kind words, Steve, And thanks for stopping by.


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