Red-tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis

Buteo jamaicensis photo © by Robert Shantz

This Red-tailed Hawk was photographed south of Virden, New Mexico on January 23, 2003. The image is copyrighted by Robert Shantz and used with permission.

Photo © by Mike Plagens, Red-tailed Hawk nest with nestling,.

Utility poles offer preferred nest sites in many corners of the Sonoran Desert, particularly near agricultural fields and their supply of rodent prey. Maricopa Co., Arizona. Feb. 2020.

Red-tailed Hawks are familiar aerial predators across North America including the Sonoran Desert. During the hottest summer months they are largely absent from low desert areas. But during the winter months their abundance is greatly augmented by migrants from the north; in agricultural areas and grasslands one might be seen resting on an utility pole every half mile or less.

They nest during the spring and will sometimes construct their platform nest upon a saguaro cactus. Predating rodents and rabbits especially, they are a very important element in the ecology of the desert.

Year-round Resident - Spring/Summer Breeder; More Common in Winter

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 23 March 2003,
updated 25 Jan. 2021.