Red-tailed Hawk
(Buteo jamaicensis)


Picture of bird
© Chuck Kling
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

One of the most commonly seen hawks in Canada, the Red-tailed Hawk breeds from the Maritime provinces to the west coast and north into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. The Breeding Bird Survey indicates that populations of the species in Canada have increased since 1970. The species is highly morphologically-variable across its range, with up to 16 subspecies being recognised by some authors (Preston and Beane 2009).


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2012 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2010 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaModerate IncreaseHigh

Population estimate

Canada500,000 to 5,000,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population


Conservation and management

Often able to adapt to urban expansion and human activities, this species nests in a wide variety of habitats, although usually in open woodlands with nearby fields or grasslands for foraging (Preston and Beane 2009). Populations of the species expanded in the 20th century with deforestation of the east and fire suppression in the west (Preston and Beane 2009). Global and North American populations are secure (Farmer et al. 2008).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type