Red-Tailed Hawk Size: How Big Are They Compared To Other Big Birds?

Red-Tailed Hawk Size

When you think of well-known birds of prey, the red-tailed hawk certainly isn’t going to be one of your top picks, as they are a little bit more obscure generally. 

But actually, though, these beautifully plumaged birds might be a lot more familiar to you than you might think, at least in their sound. 

It is a well-loved and well-used sound in Hollywood movies, where the screen shows an eagle, but the iconic characteristic screech associated with this majestic bird actually belongs to the red-tailed hawk! 

Don’t be mistaken though, it is not because the red-tailed hawks are any less majestic.

The main thing you cannot forget about birds of prey is their majestic size. 

But size is all about perspective, so today we are giving you a comprehensive guide on all you need to know about red-tailed hawk size.

Red-Tailed Hawk Length

Red-Tailed Hawk Size

The length of a red-tailed hawk can be defined as the distance starting from the tip of the bill’s beak, all the way to the base of its tail. 

As many birds of prey are large, broad-shouldered birds, finding out their length and keeping that in mind when bird watching is an important and crucial step for bird identification. 

Most scientific measurements made are always prefaced with the statement that the results are variable across locations, habitats, and lifestyles of the birds, and are thus prone to error.

The measurement process for a red-tailed hawk typically begins with acquiring a recently dead carcass that has not seen the effects of degradation yet. 

This measurement is also done on the bird before they are skinned for preservation. The red-tailed hawk is usually laid flat on its back, and the scientists gently flatten out their neck and head region, being as careful as possible. 

They then gently measure from the tip of the bill to the tail to find the bird’s length.

Keeping the fact that the relative length of these birds can differ based on many intrinsic and extrinsic factors, here is the average length of red-tailed hawks in different units.

Red-Tailed Hawk Length Range18 – 26 inches45 – 65 cm0.45 to 0.65 meter
Red-Tailed Hawk Average Length23 inches55 cm0.55 meter 

Red-Tailed Hawk Weight

When considering the size of a bird, their weight is their most varying feature and is often discouraged to be taken into consideration. 

It is still a useful factor to look at though, as they are indicative of the growth and development of the red-tailed hawk in laboratory conditions. It can also be used to see the differences clinical treatments make in the mass of a bird.

The weight of a bird can vary on the basis of a variety of things like the availability of good fulfilling food, proper shelters, and an abundance of other resources. 

So based on the time of weighing, it is a highly variable factor and the measurements we take are just an average score and not a perfect constant number. 

Red-tailed hawks are one of the largest species of Buteo and weigh

Red-Tailed Hawk Weight Range1.5 – 3.5 pounds690 – 1,600 grams
Red-Tailed Hawk Average Weight2.5 pounds1,200 grams

Red-Tailed Hawk Wingspan

Red-Tailed Hawk Size

Another rough indicator of size when talking about birds is their wingspan. While their wing measurement usually refers to the distance between the bend of their wing and the tip of their longest primary fingers, the wingspan is a different matter. 

The wingspan is actually the distance between the wingtips when their wings are outstretched to their fullest capacity. 

It is often that we think birds have wider wingspans than they actually do, and thus they are difficult birds to measure in the field. 

Just like with the measurement of length, fresh dead bodies are laid flattened on their back, and their wings are outstretched and also flattened, before measuring their wingspan.

Red-Tailed Hawk Wingspan Range3ft 7 in – 4ft 8 in 110 – 141 cm
Red-Tailed Hawk Average Wingspan4 ft 0.25 in125 cm

Red-Tailed Hawk vs Bald Eagle: Who Is Bigger?

Red-Tailed Hawk Size

Not only do bald eagles, a symbol of the spirit of the United States, steal the thunderous screech of the red-tailed hawks, but they also take the cake when you compare their sizes. 

Bald eagles are sometimes considered the largest raptor species in North America and for good reason! 

As big as red-tailed hawks might be, bald eagles make them seem quite tiny with their astonishing size. 

Bald eagles measure in at about 35 inches in length, with an astonishingly immense wingspan of 81 inches

They are also fascinating some of the fastest swoopers, dominating the sky when they are out to hunt, even when they weigh an average of about 9 pounds!

Red-Tailed Hawk vs Osprey: Who Is Bigger?

Unfortunately, the red-tailed hawks lose this battle too! 

Ospreys are lesser-known birds of prey that are active during the daytime and mainly feed on fish. 

If you consider the sizes of birds of prey in a spectrum, the osprey sits in the middle of the red-tailed hawk and the bald eagle. 

The red-tailed hawk’s 19-inch height is puny compared to the osprey’s 25 inches, while the osprey boasts a wingspan of 66 inches, a while 16 inches more than the hawk! 

The red-tailed hawk has an average weight of 2.5 inches across the board, while ospreys are a whole pound heavier.

Red-Tailed Hawk Size Compared To Humans

Taking the average human height as 5.5 to 5.9 ft, red-tailed hawks stand shorter than human beings when measured in the standing position, at just about 2 feet

When they are spread out and kept with their wingspan compared to an average adult male, they still reign shorter than the humans, by about 2 feet at an average of 4 feet and a few inches

Red-tailed hawks are also a species that show sexual dimorphism in size, with the females being about 25 percent larger than the males, yet still, they would only make it just below the average human eye level, and cannot surpass the height.


Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, size is always a matter of perception and comparison. 

Though red-tailed hawks may seem like any other eagle or falcon with their wide wingspans swooping in the air, we hope we have illustrated the nuances in their height and size today. 

We hope you had a fun time going up and down with us, and more importantly, we hope you learned something new!

Thank you for reading!

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