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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Buteo jamaicensis
POPULATION: 2.6 million
HABITAT: Wide range of habitats, including deserts, grasslands, woodlands, tropical rainforests, agricultural and urban areas.
One of the largest and most common birds of prey in North America, the Red-tailed Hawk is a familiar sight even to nonbirders. It often thrives in suburbia and is seen along roadsides perched atop tall poles. This handsome raptor is the epitome of its genus, Buteo, with its wide wings, short tail, and chunky build.
Red-tailed Hawks have some unique features as well: a belly band formed of dark, vertical streaks, dark patagial markings (the patagium is the area running along the leading edge of the underwing), and the eponymous reddish-brown tail.