Rough-legged Hawk

Buteo lagopus

Order

FALCONIFORMES

Family

Kites, Eagles and Hawks (Accipitridae)

Code 4

RLHA

Code 6

BUTLAG

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Rough-legged Hawk is a medium-sized bird that may also be known as the Rough-legged Buzzard. This species breeds throughout northern Europe, Asia and North America. During winter months, this species migrates to southern temperate regions of the same continent. Preferred breeding habitats include cliffs, slopes or in trees located in dense woodlands. The Rough-legged Hawk hunts for food over open areas of land, and its diet consists of small mammals and carrion. This bird will also often hover over prey quite often. The conservation rating for the Rough-legged Hawk is Least Concern.

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BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Rough-legged Hawk: Large hawk with brown upperparts, paler, streaked head, brown-spotted white breast, and dark breast band. The legs are fully feathered. Wings are mostly pale below and dark-edged. Upper half of tail is white, lower half is finely banded. Uncommon dark phase is brown-black overall.


Range and Habitat

Rough-legged Hawk: Breeds in tundra and taiga habitats of North America and Eurasia. Occurring in North America to migrate to the central United States for the winter, while Eurasian individuals migrate to southern Europe and Asia. During these winter months, from November to March, preferred habitats include marshes, plains, prairies and agricultural regions where rodent prey is most abundant.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

Generally silent

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Rough-legged Hawk was first described in 1763 by Erik Pontoppidan, Danish author, bishop, and historian.
  • The name "Rough-legged" Hawk refers to the feathered legs. This hawk, the Ferruginous Hawk, and the Golden Eagle are the only American hawks to have legs feathered all the way to the toes.
  • Their nests sometimes contain the bones of caribou along with sticks.
  • A group of hawks has many collective nouns, including a "boil", "knot", "spiraling", "stream", and "tower" of hawks.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Rough-legged Hawk

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X