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Broad-winged Hawk [Light Morph] in Pennsylvania.

Broad-winged Hawk [Light Morph] in Pennsylvania.

The Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus) is a small hawk of the genus Buteo. There are two types of coloration: a dark morph with fewer white areas and a light morph that is more pale overall.

The Broad-winged hawk is a relatively small Buteo, with a body size from 13 to 17 inches in length and weighing anywhere from 9.3 to 19.8 ounces. The tail is relatively short, As in most raptors, females are slightly larger than males. Broad-winged hawks have relatively short, and broad wings pointed at the end, which has a tapered appearance unique to the species.

Adult birds are a dark brown with a white belly and chest containing horizontal barring. Their tail can be a dark gray-black with white lines along the middle, base, and tip. The young hawks have a slightly different coloring with more white and longitudinal barring instead of horizontal barring. [Wikipedia]

Broad-winged Hawk [Light Morph]

Broad-winged Hawk [Light Morph]

Broad-winged Hawk Facts [All About Birds]

  • Each fall, hundreds of thousands of Broad-winged Hawks leave the northern forests for South America. They fill the sky in sometimes huge flocks that can contain thousands of birds at a time, and these “kettles” are a prime attraction at many hawk-watch sites. As they move from the broad stretches of North America to narrow parts of Central America their numbers get concentrated, leading people to describe places such as Veracruz, Mexico, and Panama as a “river of raptors.”
  • Scientists used satellite transmitters to track four Broad-winged Hawks as they migrated south in the fall. The hawks migrated an average of 4,350 miles to northern South America, traveling 69 miles each day. Once on their wintering grounds, the hawks did not move around much, staying on average within a 1-square-mile area.
  • Late Pleistocene fossils of Broad-winged Hawks, up to 400,000 years old, have been unearthed in Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Virginia, and Puerto Rico.
  • The oldest Broad-winged Hawk on record was a male, and at least 18 years, 4 months old when it was recaptured after sustaining an injury in Florida in 1987, the same state where he was banded in 1970. He was later released.
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