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.
The red-tailed hawk is one of three species known in the United States as the chickenhawk.
Because they are so common and easily trained as capable hunters, in the United States they are the most commonly captured hawks for falconry.
Jamaicensis or Red-tailed hawks pairs either court for the first time or engage in courtship rituals to strengthen pre-existing pair bonds before going into the breeding.
The breeding season usually begins in late February through March, but can commence as early as late December in Arizona and late January in Wisconsin or to the opposite extreme as late as mid-April as in Alberta.
The pair constructs a stick nest most often in a large tree. Many red-tails build new nests every year despite prior nests sometimes being in good standing and unoccupied, some may reuse a nest in subsequent years or may leave a nest for a year and then come back to it the following year.
In United States the first egg is laid between mid-March and early April, ranging from 3 to 5 weeks after the nest is constructed. The average date of the laying the first egg can be variable: peaking mid-January in Puerto Rico, averaging 9 March in Arizona and 1 May in Alberta.
A clutch of one to three eggs is laid in March or April, depending upon latitude, with four eggs being uncommon and five and perhaps even six increasingly rare. Clutch size depends almost exclusively on the availability of prey for the adults. At the species level, body size also determines clutch size.