Adult red-tailed hawks make what is called a horse scream, "kee-eeee-arrr." It is often described as sounding like a steam whistle. The length and pitch of this call varies with the age, gender, and geographic region of the individual red-tailed hawk.
Young red-tailed hawks communicate with their parents by making soft, low "peep"-ing sounds. As they get older, they sounds they make deepen in tone, and are usually sounds of hunger.
Red-tailed hawks also communicate through body language. In an aggressive posture, the body and head of the red-tailed hawk are held upright and its feathers are standing up. In submission, the hawk's head is lower to the ground and the feathers are smooth. Red-tailed hawks also display many aerial behaviors. In the talon-drop, during courtship, they swoop down trying to touch one another with their talons. Undulating-flight is an up and down movement that is mainly used in territorial display. Finally, in the dive-display the bird performs a steep dive. This is also a territorial display.
Red-tailed hawks have extraordinarily keen vision, which allows them to detect prey movements at great distances.
Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical Rights Holder
: The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensorsBibliographic Citation
: Arnold, D. 2002. "Buteo jamaicensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at Citation Link