Broad-winged Hawk

Buteo platypterus
Broad-winged Hawk specimens on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

Somewhat smaller than the Red-tailed Hawk, the Broad-winged Hawk (15 inches) may be identified by its solid brown back, rust-colored legs and belly, and barred white-and-black tail. A rarer dark morph also exists which is mostly dark brown overall except on the tail, which is similar to that of the light morph. Like most species of raptors, females are larger than males. The Broad-winged Hawk breeds across the eastern United States and southern Canada, absent as a breeding bird only from southern Florida and the western Gulf Coast. This species migrates south for the winter, when it may be found in Florida south of Miami and from southern Mexico south to South America. Non-migratory populations exist in the West Indies. Broad-winged Hawks breed in mature forests with deciduous or mixed deciduous and evergreen trees. During the winter, this species inhabits humid tropical forests. Broad-winged Hawks primarily eat small vertebrates, such as amphibians, small mammals, and small birds, but they may also eat large insects when available. Broad-winged Hawks are most easily observed on migration, particularly in south Texas, where they sometimes form flocks numbering in the thousands. It is also possible to observe Broad-winged Hawks dropping down from perches to capture prey or, with the aid of binoculars, roosting in trees. This species is most active during the day.

DC Information

Common summer resident from early April to late October in upland deciduous forests. Nests from late April to mid-July. Female is larger than the male.

Specimen Information

This is possibly the record for the bird on the right.
Date:  Probably late 1800's
Collected By:  Not recorded
Locality:  Guatemala
Sex:  Not recorded
Catalog ID:  257912
The bird on the left is a juvenile.  Although only partially visible in this image, there are strong vertical stripes on the chest of this specimen.

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC48445 Buteo platypterus (Broad-winged Hawk)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC54285 Buteo platypterus (Broad-winged Hawk)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC54355 Buteo platypterus (Broad-winged Hawk)