Red-shouldered Hawk
(Buteo lineatus)


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

The Red-shouldered Hawk is a very uncommon inhabitant of south-central Canada, occurring primarily in southern Ontario, with smaller populations in southern Quebec and southwestern New Brunswick. Based on Breeding Bird Survey results, this species has shown a moderate increase in population since about 1970. In 2006, the Red-shouldered Hawk was re-assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and down-listed from Special Concern to Not at Risk based on its stable or increasing populations in both Canada and the United States (COSEWIC 2006e). Threats on the breeding and non-breeding grounds currently appear to be minimal. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
COSEWIC (Canada)Not at Risk2006 
SARA (Canada)Special Concern  
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Apparently secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaModerate IncreaseMediumAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000 - 50,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between mid-March and mid-April and ends between early July and mid-July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

Historically one of the most common hawks in eastern North America, populations decreased significantly during the 1900s, probably due to loss of large expanses of mature bottomland and riparian forest. The species appears to be susceptible to fragmentation and opening of forest habitat (Dykstra et al. 2008). However, improved forest management practices, together with the stable availability of preferred hardwood forest, have benefitted the species (Badzinski 2007). The species may also benefit from recent succession of agricultural land to forest in parts of its Ontario range (Dykstra 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
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NB -- Other
Boreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Hardwood Transition, sub-region and priority type: Ontario and Manitoba -- Conservation
Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence PlainLower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain, sub-region and priority type: Ontario -- Conservation