Rough-legged Hawk - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Rough-legged Hawk - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Rough-legged Hawk - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Rough-legged Hawk - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
Click on an image (if available) to see a larger version

Mountain Nature Network has become THE place for learning about the birds of the Canadian Rockies.

Rough-legged Hawk
Buteo lagopus

Hawks, Eagles and Falcons
Hawk Family (Accipitridae)

Size: Length: 48-61 cm Wingspan: 122-142 cm

Description: The rough-legged hawk, like many Buteos, has a light and dark phase. In the light phase, the hawk has a dark upper surface and a mottled head and breast. The belly is dark. In flight, the primaries are white with dark tips and a dark patch at the wrist. The tail is straight with a thick dark band at the tip. There is a visible dark belt across the belly.

In the dark phase the entire head, chest and belly are dark. The wings, up to the wrist are black, and the primaries white with dark tips.

Similar Species: In the light phase, the dark wrist patch could lead to confusion with the osprey , but the osprey has a fan-shaped, heavily banded tail and a dark eye mask. It also resembles a ferruginous hawk, but this large hawk has an all-white tail with no terminal band. The thick band in the rough-legged hawk's tail also differentiates it from the red-tailed hawk which has an unbanded reddish tail.

Range: The rough-legged hawk nests in the far north, occasionally wintering through much of the United States. In the Rockies, it is an uncommon migrant and nester in the Canadian Rockies, becoming a locally common winter resident through parts of the American Rockies.

Habitat: Normally spotted during the winter months, and during migrations, the rough-legged hawk favours open areas during this time of year. This offers it plenty of hunting opportunities.

Diet: Rough-legged hawks feed on small mammals, rodents, snakes, amphibians, and a variety of other small animals.

Nesting: The nest is in the far north, usually on steep rock ledges.

Search for recent Rough-legged Hawk sightings

Hire an expert guide to help you locate Rough-legged Hawk

Bird watching in the Canadian Rockies offers endless opportunities for seeing new species. Mountain Nature Network is your source for birding and bird biology.


All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

Birds by Common Name:

 

Birds Listed by Latin Name: