Feeding Habits Taxonomy They are carnivorous, opportunistic feeders, consuming mainly small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and hunt from elevated perches, swooping down to seize prey either in mid-air or low to the ground. Reproduction Breeding season initiates a spectacular sequence of aerial acrobatics. Hawk pairs fly in large circles and gain great height before the male plunges into a deep dive and subsequent steep climb back to circling height. Later, the birds grab hold of one another with their talons and fall spiraling towards earth. Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Order: Falconiformes Family: Accipitridae Subfamily: Genus: Buteo Species: Buteo jamaiscensis Life Cycle It lives throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West Indies, and is one of the most common buteos in North America. The Red-tailed Hawk has an average life span of 21 years. Habitat and Habits Common across a wide range of the world, from central Alaska, east to the Maritime Provinces of Canada, and south to Florida and Central America, this hawk prefers mixed forest and field, with high bluffs or trees that may be used as perch sites. As long as it can find perch sites, they can live in widely varied landscapes, including cities and alongside highways where utility poles provide the perfect habitat for perch-hunting. References "Red-Tailed Hawk." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2013. "Red-tailed Hawk." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 July 2013. Web. 30 July 2013. "Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo Jamaicensis." Red Tailed Hawk. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2013. Phylogeny and Morphology The Red-tailed Hawk(Buteo jamaicensis) is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. They come from the Phylum chordata, It is one of the largest members of the genus Buteo in North America, typically weighing from 1.5 to 3.5 pounds and measuring 18 to 26 in. in length, with a wingspan from 110 to 145 cm (43 to 57 in). The Redtailed Hawk displays sexual dimorphism in size, with females averaging about 25% heavier than males. Interesting fact The oldest known Red-tailed Hawk was 28 years 10 months old. Whenever a hawk or eagle appears on screen the shrill cry on the soundtrack is almost always a Red-tailed Hawk.