White-tailed Hawk

Geranoaetus albicaudatus




Kites, Eagles and Hawks (Accipitridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White, sometimes spotted with brown

Number of Eggs:

1 - 4

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

5 - 15 feet above ground., In tree.

Nest Material:

Twigs, grass, plant down.





White-tailed Hawk: Large hawk with dark gray upperparts and head, distinct brown wash on shoulders and back, and white rump. Breast is white; belly and undertail are white with inconspicuous, fine bars. Wings are dark gray above and paler below. Tail is white with broad black band near tip. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is dark overall with pale gray tail. Wings are held in a V when soaring.

Range and Habitat

White-tailed Hawk: Resident species, ranging from southern Texas south along the Gulf Coast of Mexico to central Argentina and occurs locally along the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Species also occurs on some southern Caribbean islands. Preferred habitats include open, semi-open, or thinly forested country.

Breeding and Nesting

White-tailed Hawk: One to four white eggs, sometimes with brown spots, are laid in large nest made of freshly broken twigs mixed with bunches of dry grass and lined with finer plant material. Nest is usually 5 to 15 feet above ground. Both parents incubate the eggs for about 31 days. Young fly at 54 to 57 days old.

Foraging and Feeding

White-tailed Hawk: Feeds on rabbits, cotton rats, snakes, lizards, frogs, grasshoppers, cicadas, and beetles, and occasionally quail or other birds.


White-tailed Hawk: High-pitched cackling, a repeated "ke."

Similar Species

White-tailed Hawk: Swainson’s Hawk has dark barred tail, breast band, and rounded wings.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X