Red-shouldered Hawk from Sawgrass Lake Park, Florida

Adult Red-shouldered HawkAdult Red-shouldered Hawk – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/125, ISO 200, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 300mm, natural light, not baited

There are five recognized subspecies of Red-shouldered Hawks with the Florida Red-shouldered Hawks having the palest heads and plumage, I believe this adult is from the Florida race, Buteo lineatus extimus. (Correct me if I am wrong)

Sawgrass Lake County Park in Pinellas County, Florida was a terrific location for me to see and photograph Red-shouldered Hawks, the habitat included mixed deciduous-coniferous woodlands, flooded deciduous swamps, plenty of dead trees for them to perch on to hunt from and plentiful prey for them to eat.

Red-shouldered Hawk eat a wide variety of prey including small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, small birds, invertebrates and crayfish.

I don’t think I can recall a single visit to Sawgrass Lake Park where I didn’t see or hear Red-shouldered Hawks. I think their eyes are huge compared to the size of their heads.

Because I am currently living in Utah I do not get to see or photograph Red-shouldered Hawks because they are infrequently spotted here. I still miss hearing them or seeing them swoop down from a perch to capture prey but there are plenty of Red-tailed Hawks that fill that void.


* Where am I? I can’t say for sure but I can definitely say I am away. If you would like to share this post with family and friends please feel welcome to do so.

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12 comments to Red-shouldered Hawk from Sawgrass Lake Park, Florida

  • Omnitrigger

    BEAUTIFUL! I didn’t realize you don’t have them in Utah much. They are one of my favorites. Do you ever get out to California? There are many out here, plus a very large population of a variety of raptors.

  • I think that the larger eyes give this species of hawk a different look.

  • Keith Nichols

    This is an amazing photo. What a beautiful bird.

  • How absolutely beautiful. I associate disproportionately big eyes with nocturnal birds. And am obviously wrong. Again.
    Thank you for continuing my avian education.

  • Gorgeous Hawk + Fabulous Photo + GREAT EYE CANDY!!

  • Mia, superb photograph, naturally!

    It’s been a treat this year to seek out the breeding status of the Red-shouldered Hawk in central Florida and to discover how robust the population is currently. They have been very good at adapting to diverse habitat.

  • Merrill Ann Gonzales

    This photo is wonderful… The bird and the branch so clearly focused and the way the background is out of focus just enough to give a real feeling for the area. Not only is the red-shouldered hawk a stunning bird, but you’ve presented a tactile pleasure for us …. Many thanks.

  • Excellent Photo. When I first glanced at the unexpanded photo segment showing, I thought I was seeing a Gila Woodpecker or maybe Flicker due to the patterns. The detail and coloring around the bill is amazingly detailed.

  • I never noticed their eye/head ratio before, Mia. Your photo really shows this. What a beautiful image of a gorgeous bird!

  • It is fabulous, great photo too.

  • Ronnie

    Beautiful shot as usual Mia. I really appreciate you sharing the technical info with us. I am trying to improve my photography and this really helps me learn.

  • Sonja Ross

    It’s a handsome bird, and I agree about the large eyes. I watched a Wedge-tailed Eagle this afternoon being attacked by a Little Raven. It’s a hard life being a raptor sometimes.