Short-tailed Hawk is a tropical hawk that only reaches the U.S. in the
southern half of Florida. Vagrants have also been spotted in extreme
southern Texas and Arizona. Their range extends southward in to much
of Mexico, Central America, and much of South America. Short-tailed
Hawks have very different dietary preferences than other Buteo hawks, with a
strong preference for feeding on small birds.
Habitat: Typically found in edge habitat where
large open expanses of grassland, wetland, or farmland meet forests.
Diet: Mostly feeds on small birds, but they will
also occasionally feed on rodents, small snakes, lizards, frogs, and large
Behavior: Typically hunts by slowly gliding or
circling, diving after prey when spotted. They will often search for
prey from a relatively high flight of a few hundred feet.
Nesting: The nest of a Short-tailed Hawk is a
large platform of sticks, with moss, small twigs, or leafy branches used to
line the nest. Both sexes help to construct the nest, although the
male primarily just brings nest material while the female actually builds
the nest. The female alone incubates the eggs, but both sexes will
help to raise the young.
Song: Long clear scream, as well as shorter
high-pitched calls and screams.
Migration: Many Short-tailed Hawks are permanent
residents. However, those in the northern part of their Florida range
typically move to the southern part of the Florida peninsula for the winter.
Some Mexican populations may also be migratory.
Conservation Status: There are currently no
perceived major threats to Short-tailed Hawk populations, and the IUCN cites it as a species of "Least Concern".