Photo by Dick Murray

Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus)

Fun Fact

The Short-tailed Hawk is a rare bird in Florida, yet it is not on the Endangered Species list.

Etymology

"Buteo" is latin for "a hawk" "Brachyurus" refers to a brown back.

Lifespan

~25 years

Conservation Status

IUCN Least Concern

Identification

An adult light morph has dark brown upperparts. The underparts are white, except that the tail and flight feathers are grey barred with dark. The immature is similar to the adult but the face is streaked rather than white, and the tail bands are of equal width, whereas the adult has a broad bar near the tail tip.

Length

37 to 45 cm (15 to 18 in)

Wingspan

80–103 cm (31–41 in)

Weight

342 to 625 g (12.1 to 22.0 oz)

Distribution

Short-tailed hawks breed in the tropical and subtropical Americas from southeastern Brazil and northern Argentina north through Central America to northern Mexico, as well as in southern Florida and USA.

Habitat

May be found in wooded savannah, patchy woodlands near water, cypress swamps, mangrove swamps or high pine-oak woodlands. In the tropics, it is most common in lowland foothills.

Prey

It eats mainly smaller birds.

Behaviors

Hunts from soaring flight, often at the borders between wooded and open areas. They can be seen "kiting" frequently, the bird heads into the wind, with its wings held stationary. It typically attacks prey with a vertical swoop, sometimes pausing and then continuing downward in a "step-wise" manner.

Breeding

A large stick nest is built in a tree. The nest is bulky. Its 1–3 eggs prer clutch are white, with dark spots and blotches. The nesting season is January through June in Florida and is possibly similar in the tropics. Incubation occurs over 34 days.

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Citation

InfoNatura: Animals and Ecosystems of Latin America [web application]. 2007. Version 5.0 . Arlington, Virginia (USA): NatureServe. Available: http://www.natureserve.org/infonatura. (Accessed: October 24, 2012 ).

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