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GAP Analysis Predicted Distribution Map

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Species Code: BUJA

Highslide JS
Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only.
© NatureMapping Program

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Predicted breeding range

= Core Habitat
= Marginal Habitat


Red-tailed hawk photo

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Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

NatureMapping observations map   Map with Breeding 
Bird Atlas records
Observations | Historic Gap points

Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made)


This species is common in most habitats throughout the state. Generally they are only absent from dense coastal rain forests, sub-alpine and alpine forests and parkland, dense inner cities, and permanent ice and snow. Elsewhere they are found in a variety of habitats including agricultural areas, steppe, open forests, managed forests, low-density residential areas, wetlands, and coastal areas.

All zones were core areas of use, except Alpine/Parkland which was excluded. All habitats were good except bare ground in high zones (excluded), high-density development (adequate), and mid- to late-seral west-side conifer forest (adequate).

A large amount of geographic data exists for this species and its habitat preferences are fairly well known. A study of western Washington nest sites revealed all were in hardwood trees, primarily Black Cottonwood or Red Alder. In dense ancient forests, Red-tailed Hawks are absent except at large clearings such as roadsides. In developed areas, Red-tailed Hawks can be surprisingly common, as in Seattle, where they nest along the Interstate-5 corridor, despite constant traffic noise and human disturbance.

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Webpage designed by Dave Lester