FERRUGINOUS HAWK


Buteo regalis


Description:

The Ferruginous Hawk is the largest buteo in North America. They feed primarily on small mammals, such as rodents, Prairie Dogs, Squirrels, and rabbits. They also feed on snakes and lizards.


Appearance:

General: A large, broad-winged, broad-tailed hawk. Short, dark hooked beak. Legs are feathered down to toes. Sexes similar.

Light Phase: Pale head, neck, breast, and belly. Rufous upperparts. The tail is gray, rufous, or whitish above and pale below. Rufous leg feathers. Rufous mottling on underwing coverts. Black tips on primaries. Immatures in this phase have white leg feathers, a dusky tail with several dark bands, and a gray or gray-brown back and upperwings.

Dark Phase: Completely dark-brown or dark-rufous plumage. The tail is gray, rufous, or whitish above and pale below. Underside of flight feathers are pale and lack barring. Immatures in this phase have a tail similar to immature light phase birds; dusky with several dark bands. 22.5 to 25 inches in length.




Habitat:

Grasslands, farms, and open country.


Nesting:

3-5 white eggs with brown spots or blotches. The eggs have a 28-33 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 44-48 days. The nest is made from large twigs, sticks, and bones. It is usually built on a rocky hillside. Both the male and female participate in building the nest.


Observed Locations:

  • Rangeland Road, Ramona





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Light Phase

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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.