The Buteo jamaicensis or Red-tailed hawk is a bird of prey that breeds throughout most of North America, from the interior of Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West Indies.
It is one of the most common members within the genus of Buteo in North America or worldwide. The red-tailed hawk is one of three species known in the United States as the chickenhawk.
The red-tailed hawk occupies a wide range of habitats and altitudes, including deserts, grasslands, deciduous forests, agricultural fields, and urban areas.
It is legally protected in Canada, Mexico, and the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
In North America, they are most often predators of small mammals such as ground squirrels and other rodents.
Voles alternated with larger rabbits often the bulk of the diet. Large numbers of birds and reptiles can occur in the diet in several areas, and can even be the primary foods.
Buteo jamaicensis or Red-tailed hawks may survive on islands absent of native mammals on diets variously including invertebrates such as crabs, as well as lizards or birds. Like many Buteo species, they hunt from a perch.