Rough-legged Hawk

(Buteo lagopus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

Rough-legged Hawk

NatureServe

N5B, N5N - Secure Breeding and Nonbreeding

SNRN - Unranked Nonbreeding

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Uncommon to common migrant; absent or accidental in summer

Habitat

Open areas; fields, meadows, bogs, agricultural fields

Size

19 to 24¾ in length

48 to 54 wingspan

      Photo by Dan W. Andree

Identification

In flight, the undersides are either all dark (dark morph) or light with a broad, dark, abdominal belt (light morph); the tail is long and white with a single dark subterminal band; the wings are are relatively long and narrow, white on the trailing edge and dark on the leading edge from the body to the wrist (dark morph), or white with a dark wrist patch (light morph).

 
Voice

 

 
Similar
Species

 


Food

Mostly small rodents, but also amphibians, small birds, and large insects.

Rough-legged Hawk often faces the wind and hovers while hunting.

 
Nesting

 

 
Migration

Early September to mid-May


Comments

 


Taxonomy

Order:

Falconiformes (diurnal birds of prey)

 

Family:

Accipitridae (eagles, hawks, and kites)

 

Subfamily:

Accipitrinae (hawks, eagles, buzzards, vultures, and relatives)

 
Subordinate Taxa

American Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus sanctijohannis)

Eurasian Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus lagopus)

Kamtschatka Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus kamtschatkensis)

Siberian Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus menzbieri)

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

Rough-legged Buzzard

Rough-legged Hawk

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

Visitor Photos

   
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Dan W. Andree


Rough-legged Hawk...light morph...

This Spring was the first time I had ever seen a Rough-legged Hawk. It wasn’t easy to photograph. My camera is not known for action shooting etc. but couldn’t help but try capture this interesting and beautiful hawk. I read that some winter in Mn. and other northern states. They may be seen from Sept. to May in some areas of Mn. but they nest in the far north arctic regions. Their is a light and dark morph. I believe this is a light morph.

  Rough-legged Hawk    
       

Rough-legged Hawk in flight...

  Rough-legged Hawk    
       

Rough-legged Hawk...

I noticed this hawk recently on and around high line poles out in rural Norman co. Mn. and it caught my attention because of all the white on it. I wondered what kind of hawk it was so looked it up and found it to be a Rough-legged Hawk. Beautiful bird it was.

  Rough-legged Hawk   Rough-legged Hawk
       
  Rough-legged Hawk    
       

From this angle this Rough-legged Hawk reminded me of or made me think a little of an owl. Beautiful hawk it was. Would of liked to have gotten better shots of it but they show up unexpectedly and not always in the best light etc. for photography. They do not sit still long when humans are around.

  Rough-legged Hawk    
       

I understand they do not nest in Mn. but will hang around during winter then head back up north into Canada, Alaska and other more Arctic like areas. I think this is a young one.

  Rough-legged Hawk   Rough-legged Hawk

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   
       
       
       

 

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Slideshows

   
  Rough-legged Hawk
Allen Chartier
 
  Rough-legged Hawk  
     
  Rough-legged Hawk
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
 
  Rough-legged Hawk  
     
  Rough-legged Hawk
JMC Nature Photos
 
  Rough-legged Hawk  
     
  Rough-legged Hawk
Craig A. Mullenbach
 
  Rough-legged Hawk  

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
Share your video of this bird.

     
     

Other Videos

 
  Rough-Legged Hawk
LabofOrnithology
 
   
 
About

Published on Mar 15, 2016

The rough-legged Hawk is a beautiful raptor that spends the winter in open areas across much of the United States. In spring, it migrates north to breed in the tundra and taiga of Alaska and Canada. Learn to identify this species in flight by watching this video narrated by Jerry Liguori from HawkWatch International. It's one of 35 HD videos and 1,000 annotated photos in the big (~1GB) new Raptor ID app available for iPhone (http://apple.co/1XIT079) and Android (http://bit.ly/1L6NwkJ) devices. Video (c) Jerry Liguori and Brian Sullivan.

 
     
  Rough-legged Hawk (Accipitridae: Buteo lagopus) Hunting Behavior
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Dec 4, 2010

Photographed at the Kellys Slough NWR, North Dakota (04 December 2010).

 
     
  Rough-legged Hawk (Accipitridae: Buteo lagopus) Dark Phase
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Dec 4, 2010

Photographed west of Grand Forks, North Dakota (04 December 2010).

 
     
  Rough-legged Hawk /Rough-legged Buzzard ( Buteo lagopus ) HD
Stoil Ivanov
 
   
 
About

Published on Dec 31, 2012

Rough-legged Hawk ( Buteo lagopus ) Filmed at Door county Wisconsin 12-25-2012 . This is male light morph ( lightly marked type ) Also known in Europe as Rough-legged Buzzard

 
     
  How to ID a Rough-legged Hawk
rockykairn
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Oct 6, 2008

videotaped at Hawk Ridge in Duluth, MN

 
     
  Rough-legged Hawk
jube o
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 26, 2013

Very beautiful light morph Rough-legged Hawk.
Crex Meadows WIsconsin.
October 27, 2013

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this bird.

Dan W. Andree
Spring 2018

Location: Norman Co. Mn.

In flight over a grassy area

Rough-legged Hawk


Dan W. Andree
4/12/2018

Location: rural Norman Co. Mn.

I noticed this hawk recently on and around high line poles out in rural Norman co. Mn. and it caught my attention because of all the white on it. I wondered what kind of hawk it was so looked it up and found it to be a Rough-legged Hawk. Beautiful bird it was.

Rough-legged Hawk


     
     
 

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