Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)

Broad-winged Hawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Buteo platypterus | [authority] Vieillot, 1823 | [UK] Broad-winged Hawk | [FR] Petite Buse | [DE] Breitflugel-Bussard | [ES] Busardo Aliancho | [NL] Breedvleugelbuizerd


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Buteo are broad-winged, broad-tailed hawks, Well adapted for soaring. The bill, legs and talons are of average proportions. There is much colour variation both within the species, and, by way of phases, within individual species. In all cases the young are quite different from adults in that they are all well camouflaged with an overall brown appearance with varying amounts of striping below and paler mottling above.
The 25 species are spread worldwide with the exception of Australasia and much of the Indian sub-continent.

Physical charateristics

A small, chunky buteo, the size of a crow. Note tail banding of adult -white bands about as wide
as the black ones. Wing linings white. The rare dark morph, which breeds in Alberta, has dark wing linings, but shows the usual Broad-wing tail pattern.
Tail bands more numerous, restricting the white. Often migrates in soaring flocks.

Listen to the sound of Broad-winged Hawk

[audio: Hawk.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America : East, Central


Woods, groves. Typically breeds in deciduous forest or mixed coniferous-deciduous forest, often near water and near clearings or edges. Migrants may be seen over any kind of open country, but tend to stop for the night in forest or extensive groves of tree


Early in breeding season, pairs circle high in the air, calling. In display, one bird may fly high, then dive steeply.
Nest: Site is usually in lower part of large tree, 25 –
40′ above ground. Nest (built by both sexes) a rather small platform of sticks, lined with bark, moss, leaves. Leafy green twigs added during nesting cycle. Often uses preexisting nest of hawk, crow, or squirrel, adding material to it.
Clutch Usually 2 -3, sometimes 1 -4. Whitish, usually spotted with brown. Incubation almost entirely by female, 28 –
31 days. Male brings food to female during incubation, then may sit on eggs while she eats.
Young: Female remains with young almost constantly for first 1 -2 weeks; male brings food, female feeds it to nestlings. Young may climb out of nest onto nearby branches at about 4 –
5 weeks; can fly at about 5 -6 weeks and soon start learning to hunt.

Feeding habits

Includes small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds. Varied diet includes mice, voles, squirrels, other small m
ammals; toads, frogs, snakes, lizards, young turtles; various small birds; large insects. Sometimes eats crayfish, fish, centipedes, earthworms. Behavior:
Hunts by watching for prey from a perch, usually located along edge of woods or near water. When prey is spotted, the hawk swoops down rapidly to capture the creature in its talons. Occasionally hunts by flying through the woods or along watercourses, ac
tively searching for prey.

Video Broad-winged Hawk


copyright: J. Gonzalez y F. Collazo


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Broad-winged Hawk status Least Concern


Southern Canada, eastern United States. Winters mainly in Central and South America. Migration: A long-distance migrant, most going to South America for the winter. Migrates in flocks. Birds from throughout the East trav
el southwest or south to go around, not across, the Gulf of Mexico.

Distribution map

Broad-winged Hawk distribution range map

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