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.


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


~25 years

Conservation Status

IUCN Least Concern


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.


37 to 45 cm (15 to 18 in)


80–103 cm (31–41 in)


342 to 625 g (12.1 to 22.0 oz)


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.


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.


It eats mainly smaller birds.


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.


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.

Copyright Notice

© 2007 NatureServe, 1101 Wilson Boulevard, 15th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22209, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.


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

Copyright 2021 Teton Raptor Center | All Rights Reserved | Designed by Orijin Media