This is a large, long-winged hawk with rust-barred underparts, reddish shoulders, a narrowly banded tail, and a translucent area near the tip of the wing, visible from below. Its voice is shrill scream kee-yeeer, with a downward inflection. Young birds are streaked below and are best distinguished from young red-tailed Hawks by their somewhat smaller size; narrower tail; and longer, narrower wings. The Red-shouldered Hawk generally avoids the upland forests inhabited by the Red-tailed hawk, and is more often found in lowlands, especially swampy woods and bogs. There it hunts by sitting quietly on a low perch, dropping down to capture snakes and frogs. It also eats insects and small mammals.
Photo by Larysa Johnston