Photo by Mike Cameron

White-tailed Hawk (Geranoaetus albicaudatus)

Fun Fact

This bird is different from other Buteos in that the wing feathers of a perched adult White-tailed Hawk extend noticeably beyond the tail.


"Buteo" is latin for "a hawk," while "albi" is latin for "white" and "caudatus" derived from "caudal" the latin word meaning tail.


~25 Years

Conservation Status

IUCN Least Concern


Medium-sized to large hawk. Gray back and head. White underside. Rufous patches on shoulders. Tail is white with a black band near tip. Juveniles are dark brown on their upperparts and head. The chest and belly are mostly dark. Subtle light patch on upper chest. Tail pale gray with numerous fine, indistinct bars; tip of tail dark.


44–60 cm (17–24 in)


118–143 cm (46–56 in)


880–1,240 g (1.9–2.7 lb)


The White-tailed Hawk can be found from coastal Texas and the Rio Grande Valley to Argentina as well as many islands in the Caribbean.


Prefers open or semi-open regions up to 2,500 ft above sea level. Generally, it prefers arid habitat and rarely occurs in locales with high precipitation.


Diet differs depending on environment. Eats animals such as cotton tails, rats, snakes, frogs, insects and small birds.


Likes to perch on bushes, trees, telephone poles or even stand around on the ground, as well as to soar. Its preferred hunting technique is to hover and observe the surroundings for signs of potential prey, gliding to another place when nothing is found.

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: April 7, 2013 ).

Photo Credits

First picture - "Buteo albicaudatus" by Rick elis.simpson - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -

Second picture - "Buteo albicaudatus -Salvador Zoo, Ondina, Salvador, Bahia, Brasil-8a" by Agecom Bahia from Bahia/Brazil - Reformas do Zoológico de SalvadorUploaded by Snowmanradio. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons -

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