Rough Legged Hawk

The Rough Legged Hawk, also known as the Rough Legged Buzzard is native to the arctic zones of North America and Eurasia. It is a fairly large raptor standing 46 – 60 cm (18 – 24 in) high with a wingspan of 120 – 153 cm (47 – 60 in). It can be recognized by the feathers extending down its legs, thus giving it the name rough legged.

In summer they feed primarily on lemmings and voles but also takes mice, ground squirrels and birds. They hunt on the wing. In winter North American birds migrate as far south as the central United States.

They form pair bonds that last for several years. The male chooses a nesting site, usually on a cliff and brings sticks to the female who constructs the nest. He brings her food while she incubates the eggs.

Rough Legged Hawk @ Safari Niagara

  • A female rough legged hawk named Pandora calls Safari Niagara her home.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Accipitrida
Genus: Buteo
Species: B. lagopus

Did you know?

  • Rough Legged Hawks have a life expectancy of about 19 years in the wild.
  • They can live 25 years in captivity.
  • One female in captivity in California lived over 38 years.