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Rough-legged Hawk


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.


Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Large hawk.
  • Wings long and broad.
  • Flight feathers pale, with dark trailing edge to wings.
  • Black marks at wrists.
  • Tail broad, with white at base and broad dark tip.
  • Commonly with pale, streaked chest and broad dark belly.
  • May be all dark, but still with pale wing feathers and white at base of tail.

Immature Description

Juvenile similar to adult female, but with browner tail and less distinct dark band on tail and along trailing edge of wings.

Range Map Help

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

Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

  • Turkey Vulture similar to dark morph, but lacks white at base of tail and dark trailing edge along wings.
  • Northern Harrier slimmer, and with white rump, not base of tail.
  • Red-tailed Hawk with darker head, shorter wings, more barring on wings and tail, dark leading edge of wings instead of black wrist patch, and without white base to tail.
  • Ferruginous Hawk larger, with wider bill, whitish comma at wrist, and all-pale tail.

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