Which is bigger a red tailed hawk or a red shouldered hawk?

Answered by Jason Smith

When comparing the size of a Red-tailed Hawk and a Red-shouldered Hawk, it is clear that the Red-tailed Hawk is larger. This size difference is most noticeable in their overall body proportions and wing size. Red-tailed Hawks have broader wings and a larger body size compared to Red-shouldered Hawks.

The Red-tailed Hawk’s larger size is evident in its wingspan, which can reach up to 4 feet. In contrast, the Red-shouldered Hawk has a wingspan of around 3 feet. This difference in wingspan allows the Red-tailed Hawk to soar gracefully through the sky, utilizing slower wingbeats compared to the Red-shouldered Hawk.

Furthermore, the Red-tailed Hawk’s tail is another characteristic that sets it apart from the Red-shouldered Hawk. As the name suggests, the Red-tailed Hawk typically displays a reddish coloration on the top of its tail. This distinctive feature is absent in Red-shouldered Hawks, which have a rusty-brown coloration on their bellies but lack the reddish tail of the Red-tailed Hawk.

In terms of physical appearance, the Red-tailed Hawk also exhibits a dark “belly band,” a dark stripe that runs across its lower breast area. This marking is not seen in the Red-shouldered Hawk, which generally has a rusty-colored belly without any distinct bands.

I have had the opportunity to observe both Red-tailed Hawks and Red-shouldered Hawks in the wild, and the size difference between the two species is quite noticeable. The Red-tailed Hawk’s larger size and broader wings give it a more imposing presence when in flight. It’s a remarkable sight to see a Red-tailed Hawk soaring effortlessly through the sky, using its slow, powerful wingbeats.

The Red-tailed Hawk is larger than the Red-shouldered Hawk, with its broader wings, slower wingbeats, and distinctive reddish tail and dark belly band setting it apart. It is always fascinating to observe these magnificent birds of prey and appreciate the unique characteristics that make each species special.