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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

Short-tailed Hawk -- Buteo brachyurus

RANGE: Resident locally in peninsular Florida, from St. Marks and San Mateo south to Lake Okeechobee. Winters mostly south of Lake Okeechobee and in Central and South America.


HABITAT: A tropical species that barely reaches the United States in Florida, this buteo is found primarily in mixed woodland-savannah habitats, but also in mangrove and baldcypress swamps adjacent to forests, and along streams and the borders of lakes. Often perches in tall trees.

NEST: Nests in the topmost branches of tupelos, pines, magnolias, or baldcypresses, from 40 to 100 feet above ground or in the top of mangroves.

FOOD: Feeds on a great variety of birds, but primarily meadowlarks and red-winged blackbirds. Also feeds on some small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

REFERENCES: Heintzelman 1979, Ogden 1974, Ogden in Farrand 1983a, Sprunt 1955, Terres 1980.

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