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Birds of Cuba, Vagrant Visitors, Introduced Birds and Possibilities

Broad-winged Hawk

Petite Buse

Buteo platypterus

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Birds of North America
B L W W W Family Latin Name
15" 38cm 34" 86.4cm 14oz 396g Accipitridae Buteo platypterus

Species: The Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus), a crow size hawk, is the smallest member of the buteos seen in North America. This unassuming bird of prey is found in forested areas. Commonly, seen along highways and roads, perched on utility lines, watching for any movements in the grasses or on the forest floors. This certain hawk is known for its large numbers seen in any one flock during its migration period, called "kettles", in which hundreds of Broad-winged Hawk can be seen at one time. Numbering in the hundreds of thousands, when all the flocks are counted at the end of their fall and spring migration periods.

Distinctions: The males and females are similar in appearance, females are larger than male birds. Brown back, wings and tail feathers. Lightly coloured tanned breast, with large rufous to reddish brown streaks, each streak made up of series of triangles, one above the other. Easily identified in flight by equal size large bands on tail feathers, showing light and dark rows. Dark morphed birds are possible, usually, located in the western regions. Juvenile similar to parent, but with a softer look, and without the same sharp definitions.

Voice: Repeated whistles, not what one would expect from a bird of prey.

Nesting: Three to four white eggs, with brown spots, one brood per year. Builds its nest in trees, either a deciduous or mixed forest.


Distribution: Found throughout most of eastern North America's forests. Seen from Nova Scotia, forming a fingers, reaching west, out into the prairies, and beyond, to British Columbia, down through the central USA states, to Texas and east to Georgia. Migrate into South America for the winter months.

Classic Collection of North American Birds