Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Polytypic: 5 subspecies
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Photos from this Account

Adult (lineatus group)

Medium-sized hawk with slim body and fairly long tail. Wings are broad and somewhat square at the tips when soaring. Adults have extensively reddish brown underparts. Tail and flight feathers are banded black and white.

Adult (lineatus group)

Medium-sized hawk with slim shape, small head, and fairly long tail. Adults are rich reddish-brown on the chest.

Immature (lineatus group)

Note fairly long tail, slim body, and squared-off wings with translucent crescents at the tips. Immatures of the eastern subspecies have narrow brown-on-white bands on the tail and flight feathers.

Immature (lineatus group)

Juveniles are more flat brown than adults, with variable dark streaking on the underparts. They lack the adult's strong black-and-white patterning on the flight feathers.

Immature (lineatus group)

In flight, note fairly long tail, square-tipped wings, and bright, translucent crescents in the outer wing.

Adult (extimus)

In Florida, adults have pale gray heads and light orange-brown barring on the underparts.

Immature (extimus)

Immatures from Florida have heavier brown streaking on the breast than on the belly. The flight feathers and the tail have narrow bands of brown and white, more subtle than the black-and-white patterning of adults.

Adult (elegans)

Slim, medium-sized hawk. The California subspecies is rich reddish-orange on the breast, head, and shoulders. The wings are strongly patterned black-and-white, and the tail has strong bands.

Immature (elegans)

Note fairly long tail, slim body, and squared-off wings with translucent crescents at the tips. Immatures of the California subspecies have dark patterning on the wings and strongly banded tails, in addition to brown streaks on the breast.

Immature (elegans)

Immatures from California have a bib of brown streaks on the breast with sparser brown bars on the belly. The tail is strongly banded with black and white, as in adults.


Lives in forests, particularly bottomland forests and swamps, but also open upland forests and wooded suburbs.

Recommended Citation

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: