A common hawk in the eastern United States, the red-shouldered hawk exists all over Florida.

Not to be confused with the larger red-tailed hawk, the red-shouldered can be identified by its black and white banded tail and wings and by its call – a whistling sound which is imitated by blue jays. Adult hawks have a brownish red chest, but many Florida residents have paler head and chest colors.

Hunting from perches over water or in the woods, these hawks prey on mice, frogs and snakes and use the same nest years after year, if available. Females produce 2-4 pale bluish eggs and babies leave the nest after about six weeks.  Interestingly, crows will mob attack this bird to drive it away, and the Great-horned owl will sometimes eat baby hawks from nests.

Red-shouldered hawks have adapted to human’s development and may be seen in wooded areas even in the city.