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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Rough-legged Hawk

Buteo lagopus ORDER: ACCIPITRIFORMES FAMILY: ACCIPITRIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A hawk of the North, the Rough-legged Hawk breeds in Arctic tundra and taiga regions around the northern hemisphere. Both dark and light forms are common, with many birds intermediate between the extremes.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
18.5–20.5 in
47–52 cm
Wingspan
52–54.3 in
132–138 cm
Weight
25.2–49.4 oz
715–1400 g
Other Names
  • Buse pattue (French)
  • Ratonero calzado (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The nest of the Rough-legged Hawk sometimes contains the bones of caribou along with sticks.
  • The name "Rough-legged" Hawk refers to the feathered legs. The Rough-legged Hawk, the Ferruginous Hawk, and the Golden Eagle are the only American hawks to have legs feathered all the way to the toes.

Habitat


Grassland

Open coniferous forest, tundra and generally barren country, breeding on cliffs or in trees, wintering also in grasslands and open cultivated areas.

Food


Mammals

Small mammals and some birds.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–7 eggs
Egg Description
Dingy white blotched with brown.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless and covered with thick down.
Nest Description

Large bowl of sticks on cliff ledge. Lined with grasses, sedges, small twigs, and greenery.

Nest Placement

Cliff

Behavior


Aerial Dive

Hunts from the air or an elevated perch. Frequently hovers.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

No evidence of any change in North American breeding populations.

Credits

  • Bechard, M. J., and T. R. Swem. 2002. Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus). In The Birds of North America, No. 641 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Rough-legged Hawk Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

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