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Rough-legged Hawk

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Rough-legged Hawk

By: Pat Coate

Besides the Snowy Owl, we have another Arctic bird of prey wintering in our area – the Rough-legged Hawk. These birds breed in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of North America, Europe and Asia. In Europe and Asia they are known as Rough-legged Buzzards.

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Rough-legged Hawk taking flight

Several field marks (of the light morph form of the rough-legged hawk) noted in the flight pictures include:

• Broad white tail with barring or stripes at end
• Black at tips of wings
• Squarish black carpal patches at “wrists” of wings

The rough-legged hawk is often seen perched on a fence post, or high on a topmost tree branch that seems too small to support its weight.

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Rough-legged Hawk

The rough-legged hawk gets its name from its feathered legs, seen in this zoomed-in picture.

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Rough-legged Hawk in flight

Square black carpal patch very visible on underside of wing at “wrist”.


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One response

  1. Frank Voelker

    Thanks for the nice tutorial!

    21 February 2014 at 9:10 am

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