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Broad-winged Hawk


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

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.


  • Call
  • Courtesy of Macaulay Library
    © Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Broad-winged Hawks give a plaintive, high-pitched whistle that lasts 2–4 seconds, with a short first note and a long second note: kee-eee. The male’s call is an octave higher in pitch than the female’s. They give this call on the nest and in flight throughout the year.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

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.



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