It is not a traditional bird in European or Middle Eastern falconry as it does not exist in the wild in Europe, but it has been successfully used for falconry since North American falconry developed. It is also not terribly common as the versatile Red-Tail is far more available and adaptable.
The Red-Shouldered Hawk has patches of red on the wrists giving the appearance of red shoulders and, hence, the name. These colorations become more marked in the adult birds than they are in the immature. The breast is barred with reddish-brown and the bird has a brown tail with white bands.
Typical quarry caught with the Red-Shouldered Hawk are small rodents and rabbits. This bird eats lizards and snakes in the wild but has a wide variety in its diet including mice, rats, snakes, insects, spiders, crayfish, worms, snails, grasshoppers, and particularly favors frogs. It prefers to live where there are tree lined fields.
Commonly mistaken for a Red-Tail Hawk. This bird has also been called the Red-Shouldered Buzzard, Red-bellied Hawk, and the Winter Hawk.
When nesting and caring for chicks, the Red Shouldered Hawk is known for its aggression towards intruders. Typically the male is the aggressor, but these birds are known to defend their chicks ferociously.
This bird is mostly found in the Eastern US, and is thought to be on the decline.