The most common North American buteo is the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), found from Alaska to Central America. Adults (as above) have rufous tails and dark brown upperparts; the underparts vary from almost white, to rufous (below), to chocolate brown. The most significant characteristics are the dark patagial marks (area on the wings between the head and wrist) of both the juvenile and adult, and the rufous tail on the adult. The nest, of sticks, is built high up in trees. Three or four eggs are usually laid in early spring; they are dull white, often heavily marked with brown.
Rufous Morph Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk
Copyright Barbara Samuelson 2002
This juvenile rufous morph Red-tailed Hawk was banded in the Marin Headlands.
Notice how much darker the medallion (chest) feathers are on the rufous morph compared to the juvenile Red-tailed Hawk on the left and the adult on the right. The eye of the adult is darker than those of either juvenile.