The Red-shouldered Hawk, a
hawk of forests and woodlands, is just a casual visitor to South
Dakota. Several different color phases exist, but all mature birds have
the characteristics listed in the ID Keys above. Given the forest habitat
in which they are found, the noisy call of the Red-shouldered Hawk is often
heard before the bird is seen.
Habitat: During nesting
season, they are found in deciduous and mixed forests, usually in areas with
large trees and open understories. They can be found in more open habitats
during the winter.
Diet: Diet varies with location and
season, and may include small mammals, frogs, snakes, lizards, large insects,
crayfish, and sometimes fish or birds.
Behavior: Hunts from a perch, swooping out to
catch prey that comes within range. Males perform flight displays in
courtship, flying upward and calling, then diving back down towards the
female. Courting pairs can also often be seen soaring together in
circles and calling to each other.
Nesting: Non-breeder in South Dakota. In
their normal nesting range, the nest is a platform of sticks, lined with
softer vegetative materials such as leaves or moss, placed relatively high
in a tree. The female usually lays 3 or 4 eggs, and the female does
most of the incubating. When the eggs hatch, at first the male brings
food while the female stays with the young. After about 2 weeks, both
parents help to feed the young. The young leave the nest after about 6
weeks, but typically stay with the parents for several weeks after fledging.
Migration: Primarily a permanent resident, but birds
at the northern end of its range move small distances south in the fall.
Cornell University's 'All About Birds' - Red-shouldered Hawk
Photo Information: Photo taken on December 10th,
2012 - Everglades National Park in Florida - Terry Sohl