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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

White-tailed Hawk -- Buteo albicaudatus

RANGE: Resident from central and southeastern Texas south to South America.

STATUS: Uncommon.

HABITAT: Inhabits saltgrass flats of coastal grasslands, and open grassy ranges and chaparral country with scattered mesquite, yucca, and large cacti farther inland. Perches on bushes, trees, utility wires, or on the ground.

NEST: Nests on prairies, in brush, or in fringes of timber in sizeable bushes or small trees, 5 to 15 feet above ground. Prefers to nest on a ridge with a view all around. Nest plants include large cactus, yucca, and scrub oaks. May use the same nest in successive years.

FOOD: Feeds extensively upon rabbits; also eats cotton rats, lizards, snakes, frogs, grasshoppers, beetles, cicadas, and other insects.

REFERENCES: Heintzelman 1979, Oberholser 1974a, Terres 1980.

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