Broad-winged HawkButeo platypterus

adult
Brian K. Wheeler/VIREO
adult
Kevin Schafer/VIREO
adult
Lloyd Spitalnik/VIREO
adult
Brian K. Wheeler/VIREO
juvenile
Brian K. Wheeler/VIREO
juvenile
Peter LaTourrette/VIREO
adult
Brian K. Wheeler/VIREO
Broad-winged Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk

Description

13-15" (33-38 cm). W. 33" (84 cm). A stocky, pigeon-sized hawk. Adult plain brown above, barred with rusty color below, with broad black-and-white tail bands. Immatures similar, but sparsely spotted or blotched below, and with tail bands less distinct.

Voice

Thin whistle, pe-heeeeeeeee? Blue Jays are known to mimic the call.

Listen

p-seeee calls

Habitat

Breeds mainly in deciduous woodlands.

Range

Breeds from Alberta east to Manitoba and Nova Scotia, south to Gulf Coast and Florida. Winters from southern Florida southward into tropics.

Discussion

The Broad-winged Hawk is an eastern species, best known for its spectacular migrations; often thousands of birds travel together, with single flocks numbering up to several hundred individuals. Great numbers migrate along the eastern ridges in mid-September; more than 19,000 were counted in one day as they passed over the lookout at Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania. During breeding, this hawk is secretive or, rather, unobtrusive. It lives mainly in the woods, beneath the canopy or hidden among the foliage. Often one is made aware of it only through its call. Its food consists mainly of snakes, mice, frogs, and insects.

Nesting

3 or 4 white eggs, with irregular brown spots, in a nest of sticks lined with green leaves placed in the crotch of a tree.

Similar Species

adult, light morph

Short-tailed Hawk

13-14" (33-36 cm). W. 35" (89 cm). A stocky, pigeon-sized hawk with two color phases.

adult, Florida

Red-shouldered Hawk

16-24" (41-61 cm). W. 3'4" (1 m). A large, long-winged hawk with white barring on dark wings, rusty shoulders, pale underparts barred with rust, and narrowly banded tail.

adult

Gray Hawk

16-18" (41-46 cm). W. 3' (91 cm). A small compact hawk with a yellow cere; pale gray above with white underparts finely barred with gray, and bold white bands on tail.

Vireo

iPad Promo