Ferruginous Hawk

About the Ferruginous Hawk
Also known as: Ferrugineous Rough-leg, Ferruginous Buzzard, Rusty Squirrel Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk

The Ferruginous Hawk is a large type of buteo hawk that lives across western parts of North America. They prefer open country - prairies, open plains, badlands, and grasslands.

These large, powerful birds eat a variety of prey animals, including ground squirrels, muskrats, prairie dogs, and jackrabbits. Their large yellow gape (mouth width) is apparent and allows Ferruginous Hawks to swallow large prey whole!

Ferruginous Hawks use a variety of nest sites, including trees, rocky outcrops, artificial nest platforms, the rocky ground, or even haystacks! Usually three or four eggs are laid. Male offspring fledge up to 10 days before female chicks.

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Details & Statistics


The Ferruginous Hawk is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2012 by BirdLife International. This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

International Names

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Bonanza Bird #18: Ferruginous Hawk

Today a beautiful bird of prey from the American west joins Birdorable: the Ferruginous Hawk! Ferruginous Hawks are the largest species of hawk found in North America. They are even sometimes mistaken for eagles when seen in flight - they're...  Read more »