Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
16 inches (41 cm) W 34 inches (86 cm)
• Broad black and white bands on short, broad tail
• Broad wings white below with black border at tip, trailing edge
• Dark brown above, reddish barring below
• Sexes similar
• Short, dark, hooked beak
• Medium-sized, broad-winged, broad-tailed hawk
• Short, broad wings somewhat pointed at the tip
Light morph adult:
• Dark brown head, nape, upperwing, and back
• Pale breast with thick, reddish bars to belly
• Pale underwing with thick black margin to trailing edge
• Thick black and white bands on tail of even width
Light morph immature:
• Dark brown head, back, and upperwing
• Pale breast streaked with black
• Pale underwing with indistinct, broad, black trailing edge
• Tail dark brown above and pale below with dark bands
Dark morph adult:
• Rare breeder in Alberta and rare migrant in West and Midwest
• Dark chocolate brown head, back, breast, upperwings, belly, and underwing coverts
• Black and white bands on tail of even width
• Pale silvery flight feathers below are barred with black
• Broad, black trailing edge to wings
Dark morph immature:
• Dark chocolate brown head, back, upperwings, breast, belly, and undertail coverts often with paler rufous and white streaks
• Tail dark above and pale below with narrow dark bands
• Pale silvery flight feathers with some barring and often a pale, rectangular window in the outer wing
• Indistinct dark margin to trailing edge of wing
• Red-shouldered Hawk is similar in adult plumage but has reddish shoulders, a pale crescent in the wings, lacks the distinct black border to the trailing edge of the wing, and the white bands on the tail are much narrower than the black bands. Immatures can be distinguished by shape and crescent-shaped pale window in outer primaries. Dark morph Swainson's Hawk has pale undertail coverts. Other dark buteos are much larger with much broader wings (Red-tailed, Rough-legged, and Ferruginous). Immature dark morph Short-tailed Hawk has darker secondaries that contrast with the pale primaries and does not overlap with the range of the dark morph Broad-winged Hawk.
Large deciduous forests, mixed coniferous-hardwood forests around wilderness lakes, streams, swamps. Often sits on low limbs waiting for prey such as frogs or toads. Nests near water in woods. Wingbeats are slower than Red-shouldered Hawk. Huge flocks seen in migration, especially at Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania (west of Allentown) in mid-September.
NESTING & FEEDING:
BREEDING: Dense deciduous and mixed forest; occasionally in open woodland, often near water. 1 brood. Mating system is monogamous.
DISPLAYS: Aerial courtship: pair flap, soar in circles, darting at and passing close to each other.
NEST: Usually in crotch of deciduous tree, 30 to 50 feet high. Occasionally in conifer by trunk. Relatively small, loose, of sticks, twigs, dead leaves. Lined with inner bark strips, lichen, few outer bark chips, evergreen sprigs, green leaves. Usually annual. Built in 3-5 weeks; female does all or most of lining. Occasionally use old nest of crow, squirrel, hawk.
EGGS: 2-3 white/bluish-white, marked with brown, wreathed; occasionally unmarked. 1.9" (49 mm).
CHICK DEVELOPMENT: Female incubates with help from male. Incubation takes 28-32 days. Development is semialtricial (immobile, downy, eyes open, fed). Young are able to fly after 35 days. Both sexes tend young.
DIET: Opportunistic, also takes nestlings. Sedentary hunter; usually cannot catch adult birds. Occasionally hawks insects.
CONSERVATION: Winters s from Guatemala through Central America to e Peru, Bolivia, and s Brazil.
NOTES: Pair bond occasionally lasts more than 1 year. Only female has brood patch; male provides food for incubating mate. Young hatch asynchronously, chick size differs. Female broods; begins hunting when nestlings 1-2 weeks old. Often migrate in large flocks.
Buteo platypterus BROAD-WINGED HAWK. Forest, open woodland. E N. America in c,se Alberta, (possibly c British Columbia), c,sc Saskatchewan and c,sc,se Manitoba e across s Canada to Quebec, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and s to nc,ne N. Dakota, Minnesota (exc. w,sw), nc,e,sw Iowa, ne,sw Missouri, locally in e Nebraska, ne,se Kansas, e Oklahoma, e Texas, Louisiana and e along the Gulf coast to n Florida. Locally and possibly expending to the w U.S. Resident in the Antilles on Cuba and Puerto Rico and from Antigua s to Grenada and Tobago. Winters in s Florida, s Mexico, C. America, Antilles, and S. America s to Bolivia and s Brazil. Widespread vagrant to w U.S.; has wintered.