There are 14 currently recognized subspecies of red-tailed hawk, and they come in a wide range of color patterns. Many are brown on the back, with a darker head resembling a hood. They may also have a white “chin” of feathers under their beak. Some may be nearly all white, while others are almost entirely black.
Regardless of their color morph, most varieties feature a light or white underbelly, with a dark band across the stomach formed by loose groupings of brown feathers. The tail of most color morphs is also typically a brownish-red color, which gives the hawk its common name.
It is a heavy-bodied hawk, and adult females may weight over four pounds. They may reach over two feet in length, with a wingspan of over four and a half feet. Their wings are wide and rounded, and their tails are short.