Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus)


French: Buse à queue courte German: Kurzschwanzbussard Spanish: Busardo colicorto

Buteo brachyurus


, 1816,



Genetic study found that this species forms a clade with B. solitarius, B. albigula, B. swainsoni and B. galapagoensis#R. Has previously been considered to include B. albigula as a higher-altitude race, or even as a synonym, but no intergradation or hybridization reported, despite possible range overlap, and the two appear not to be sister-species#R. Two subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. b. fuliginosus P. L. Sclater, 1858 – SE USA (Florida) and Mexico (from Sinaloa and Tamaulipas) S to Panama; also Cozumel I (off NE Yucatán Peninsula, SE Mexico).
  • B. b. brachyurus Vieillot, 1816 – Colombia S to NW Peru (Tumbes), E to Trinidad#R, the Guianas and Brazil (S to Rio Grande do Sul), and S through E Peru and Bolivia to Paraguay and N Argentina (Tucumán, Chaco, Corrientes, Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    37–46 cm; male 450–470 g, female 425–530 g; wingspan 83–103 cm. Polymorphic, with pale and dark morphs. Compact-looking Buteo with... read more


    A shrill, piercing scream, cackling and nasal calls have been reported, but generally silent except... read more


    Fairly catholic in requirements. Tropical lowlands through foothills into subtropical zone; occurs... read more

    Food and feeding

    Few data available, except from Florida (USA). Mainly birds: 96·3% of prey in one study in Florida, mostly Red-winged Blackbirds (... read more


    Poorly known. Laying Jan–Jun in Florida; nests Feb in Panama, Mar in Trinidad. Relatively large stick nest 60–70 cm wide and 30... read more


    Florida population shifts to S part of state in winter, but apparently does not cross much water,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Nowhere very common, e.g. uncommon and thinly spread over Colombia; widespread but uncommon in Venezuela; rare in W Ecuador... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).