Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) and American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) are primarily sitand-wait predators that rely on perches to forage most efficiently. Overwintering Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels use available perches (e.g., utility poles and wires, trees, fences, gates, etc.) to hunt for prey items in agricultural fields in northeast Arkansas. Observations were made from December 2011-March 2012 and November 2012-March 2013 in three representative cover-types (short rice stubble, soybean stubble, and fallow areas including roadsides) to determine which perch-types were used by Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels. Utility pole crossbeams at an average height of 6.3 m were the main perchtypes used by Red-tailed Hawks, demonstrating the use of man-made structures’. These perches were generally in or near fallow areas or short rice stubble fields. Conversely, American Kestrels usually perched on wires at an average height of 4.9 m, over fallow roadsides’. Fallow areas had high prey density and vegetation cover. Niche separation via differential use of perches may be one factor that allows these raptors to avoid inter-specific competition.
Worm, A. J.; Bobowski, M. M.; and Risch, Thomas S.
"Perch-type Characteristics of Overwintering Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) and American Kestrels (Falco sparverius),"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 67
, Article 27.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol67/iss1/27