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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

Zone-tailed Hawk -- Buteo albonotatus

RANGE: Breeds from central Arizona, southern New Mexico, and western Texas south to South America. Very rare north of Mexico in winter.

STATUS: Locally fairly common.

HABITAT: Inhabits deep, rough, and rocky wooded canyons and tree lined rivers along middle slopes of desert mountains, especially in open deciduous or pine-oak woodland.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Large trees for nesting.

NEST: Builds a bulky nest in large trees, usually cottonwoods along streams and rivers, 25 to 100 feet above ground in leafy top. Rarely nests in mesquites.

FOOD: Eats chipmunks, quail and small birds, lizards, small fishes, and frogs (little is known about diet).

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

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