A medium-sized hawk, our California subspecies is rich reddish-orange on breast, head and shoulders. The wings are strongly patterned black-and-white and the tail strongly barred.
Red-shouldered hawks are typically seen in riparian woodland habitats. Since 1900, their population has declined due to the clearing of wet hardwood forests. Red-shouldered hawks and other raptors also suffered from DDT exposure causing brittle eggs until that pesticide was phased out.