Red-tailed Hawk: here’s the scoop


Red-tailed hawk populations are thriving and they have an extremely large range. In fact, this species has undergone a large and statistically significant increase over the last 40 years in North America (a 177% increase over 40 years).

Committed to Conservation

Lorton the red-tailed hawk is an important member of the Zoo’s Animal Ambassador Program and currently lives behind-the-scenes. You may see him out with educators for encounters, special events or school programs. The animal ambassadors at Buttonwood Park Zoo are working ambassadors of their species and of their wild counterparts.  They stimulate interest and appreciation, dispel myths and fears, reconnect visitors with the natural world and stir all those they encounter to action.


Red-tailed Hawk

Scientific name

Buteo jamaicensis


Every type of open habitat on the continent including deserts, scrublands, grasslands, roadsides, fields and pastures, parks, broken woodland and (in Mexico) tropical rainforests.


Small mammals and birds. Individual prey items can weigh anywhere from less than an ounce to more than 5 pounds.

life expectancy

25 – 30 years

Did you know?

The red-tailed hawk is one of the largest birds you’ll see in North America, yet even the biggest females weigh only about three pounds. Red-tailed hawks are the second largest after the ferruginous hawk.


North America

Conservation status

Least Concern

Widespread and abundant