These fluctuations make it difficult to assess trends, but Christmas Bird Count data reflect an increase throughout the Northwest over the past … Light-morph birds have a light head, and a dark belly band, with black carpal (not patagial) patches on the wings, and a white tail (not rump) with a dark terminal band. The total world population of Rough-legged Hawks is estimated at between 100,000 and one million birds. Both light and dark morph Rough-legged Hawks occur in North America, but dark morphs are found nowhere else. SWEM. Males and females have different appearances. Rough-legged Hawks are one of the five North American raptors that are complete migrants. The Raptor Center depends on public support for 60% of our annual budget. Of our soaring Buteo hawks, this is the only one tied to cold climates. Males are intercepted in midair by females as they return to the nest with prey, and females consume prey at feeding sites away from the nest. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its silhouette suggests a lanky Red-tailed Hawk. Relative Size. While soaring, Rough-legged Hawks hold their wings in a slight dihedral. Rough-legged Hawks sometimes rob prey from other birds including other roughlegs, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, and Common Ravens. © 2020 Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Although roughlegs feed almost entirely on mammals and birds, they may also capture reptiles, fish, and insects as well. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. WEIDENSAUL, S. 1989. Roughlegs rarely nest in trees, on level ground or on man-made structures. As a result numbers of Rough-legged Hawks wintering in areas often fluctuate during the course of the season. Larger than an American Crow; slightly smaller and less bulky than a Red-tailed Hawk. Rough-legged Hawks are part of the family Accipitridae, which includes 224 species of hawks, eagles, vultures, harriers, and kites. Light-morph adult males have grayish-brown backs and wings, and brown markings on their whitish underparts. Factors that play a role in determining which hunting method is used include the presence of suitable perches and weather conditions. This fairly large raptorial species is 46–60 cm (18–24 in) with wingspan ranging from 120 to 153 cm (47 to 60 in). Rough-legged Hawks are monogamous, and pairs raise only one brood per year. Flight behavior: Solitary migrant. Light-morph juveniles are similar to light-morph adult females and dark-morph juveniles are similar to dark-morph adult females. Their breeding range can extend south into boreal regions in years when prey are abundant. Pairs do not perform extensive courtship displays. Throughout this period, the male continues to provide food to the female, both for her and the developing young. Rough-legged Hawks use updrafts created above hills and cliffs when hovering. The upper half of the tail is white, lower half is finely banded. Field marks: Large-headed, relatively long-winged, long-tailed buteo. Rough-legged Hawks are the most northern of all buteos, and one of the most common of all arctic raptors. In all color phases there is a very dark band across the chest, and black patches on the underside of the wrist. A white patch at the base of the tail is a good field characteristic. Birds are an important supplemental source of food, particularly in summer, when Rough-legged Hawks have been known to take ptarmigan, waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds. 641 in The Birds of North America (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds). JOHNSGARD, P.A. Although Rough-legged Hawks often hunt aerially, they also hunt from perches, particularly in winter. 2003. In winter, roughlegs often concentrate in large numbers in areas where food is plentiful. Rough-legged Hawks are circumpolar birds that breed in the arctic tundra of North America, Europe, and Asia. What Size is a Rough-legged Hawk? St. Paul, MN 55108 | Map. FERGUSON-LEES, J. In flight the dark carpal patches of light-morph birds serve as good field marks for identifying the species. Soars and alternately flaps and glides while migrating. Male Rough-legged Hawks often are darker than females. Alternates powerful flaps with glides. Hawks, eagles, and falcons of North America. About the size of a red-tailed hawk, the rough-legged hawk is feathered down its legs and on the tops of its feet. In winter, small mammals—including mice, shrews, and voles—are the predominant prey. Collisions with vehicles are a common source of mortality on the wintering grounds. Rough-legged Hawk: This large hawk has brown upperparts, paler, streaked head, brown-spotted white breast, dark breast band, and fully feathered legs. All rights reserved. Roughlegs will also sometimes feed on road killed animals. Rough-legged Hawks lay clutches of three to seven eggs. Thereafter, females begin to hunt on their own. In North America, several distinctive plumages are reported. Habitat loss is more likely on the Rough-legged Hawk’s wintering grounds than on its breeding grounds. Rough-legged Hawks usually migrate alone, but individuals are sometimes seen together when capitalizing on favorable atmospheric conditions. Even though Rough-legged Hawks feed primarily on small rodents, the species was viewed as a threat and was persecuted by ranchers and farmers until the 1930s. Because it tends to feed on small mammals and typically breeds in remote areas, the Rough-legged Hawk was unaffected by the widespread use of organochlorine pesticides. The largest concentrations of migratory Rough-legged Hawks are observed in river valleys that run parallel to migration routes and along the shorelines of large bodies of water like the Great Lakes, where hundreds of Rough-legged Hawks are counted at spring watchsites like Whitefish Point, Michigan on Lake Superior, and at Braddock Bay and Derby Hill, New York on Lake Ontario. Rough-legged Hawks are moderate-distance migrants that migrate across broad fronts. Typically hovers while searching for prey. Academic Press, San Diego, California. 1988. Rough-legged Hawks also take larger mammals including Arctic Ground Squirrels and rabbits. In the eastern United States, female Rough-legged Hawks typically winter farther north, whereas males predominate in more southerly areas. Wingspan 4'-4'8" Length 1'6"-1'10" W-L ratio 2.5:1; Weight 148-3 lbs; Raptor Bites. Fledglings often remain near the nest and are dependent on their parents until migration begins. About the size of a red-tailed hawk, the rough-legged hawk is feathered down its legs and on the tops of its feet. The roughleg regularly hovers when hunting on the wing. In spring, adults usually precede juveniles on migration. These markings typically are heavier on the breast than on the belly, and there is a well-defined light U-shaped area between the breast and belly. Also, because Roughlegged Hawks migrate across a broad front they are not counted in large numbers at most traditional watchsites, and migration counts do not serve as good indicators of the population size. Roughlegs call while circling and soar together or individually. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. Nests in trees usually are placed close to the crown. The young, who leave the nest when they are about 40 days old, continue to rely on their parents for most of their food for two to four weeks after fledging. Rough-legged Hawks have … Overall, the species appears to be fairly common across its range in the Arctic and in tundra regions globally. Often holds wings in a shallow dihedral. WHEELER, B.K. Identifying Characteristics. Light-morph adult females have more brownish backs and wings than adult males, and their bellies are more heavily marked than those of males. 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