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The Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a the most common and widespread hawk in North America. This raptor, a bird of prey, is a powerful flier that lives in swamps, taigas, deserts, and a variety of biomes.

Anatomy: The Red-Tailed Hawk is about 19-23 inches (48-58 cm) long. It weighs about 2.5 pounds (1 kg), with wingspan of 4 to 4.5 feet (1.2-1.4 m). The plumage (feathers) varies a bit, but is generally brown to gray brown with paler markings, and with a white chest. The tail feathers are red-brown (rufous) and square-cut.

Diet: The Red-Tailed Hawk is a carnivore (a meat-eater) who often catches its prey while flying, killing it with sharp talons. It eats rodents (like mice, muskrats, and squirrels), opossums, moles, weasels, reptiles (like snakes), amphibians, and other birds (like pigeons, quail, crows, ducks, and woodpeckers). The hawk eats the entire prey, regurgitating inedible parts, like fur, feathers, teeth, and bone.

Nest and Eggs: The Red-Tailed Hawk's large nest is built out of sticks, bark and leaves, and is located high in a tree. The female lays 1-5 white eggs speckled with brown in each clutch (a set of eggs laid at one time). Both parents incubate the eggs.

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