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Merlin Bird ID

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    Broad-winged Hawk

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    Broad-winged Hawk

    Buteo platypterus
    • ORDER: Accipitriformes
    • FAMILY: Accipitridae
    Basic Description

    One of the greatest spectacles of migration is a swirling flock of Broad-winged Hawks on their way to South America. Also known as “kettles,” flocks can contain thousands of circling birds that evoke a vast cauldron being stirred with an invisible spoon. A small, stocky raptor with black-and-white bands on the tail, the Broad-winged Hawk is a bird of the forest interior and can be hard to see during the nesting season. Its call is a piercing, two-parted whistle.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Broad-winged HawkRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    Broad-winged Hawks are most easily seen during migration at hawkwatches such as Hawk Ridge, Minnesota, and Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania. They form sometimes enormous aerial flocks, especially in southern Texas, in Mexico along the Gulf coast in Veracruz, and along the shores of the Great Lakes. If you’re looking for Broad-winged Hawks during summer, go to an eastern or northern forest and listen for their piercing whistles, often given while circling above the forest canopy, when they are easier to see.

    Other Names
    • Aguililla Alas Anchas (Spanish)
    • Petite Buse (French)
    • Cool Facts