Broad-winged Hawk

Buteo platypterus


Length: 13-15 inches  

Weight: Adults vary in weight from 2 to 4 pounds

Color: Medium sized hawk, ~size of a crow, dark back and is light beneath. When it is flying overhead, look for its broad, thickly striped tail. Adults have a dark brown back and a brown-barred breast. Juveniles have brown, vertical barring on their chest.

 Sounds: high "keee" whistle- to defend territory/also makes a whining sound


Range: Found throughout Minnesota's forested region-most common in northern forests. You may see one perched on a branch in a tree, watching for a meal to scurry by. They spend their winters in southern Florida and Central and South America.

Diet: Rodents, insects, reptiles, amphibians, reptiles, and other birds. They skin frogs and snakes and remove the feathers from birds.

Status: Broad-winged hawks are very common in Minnesota.

Life Cycle

Reproduction: Male and female broad-winged hawks perform courtship dances in the spring. After couples pair up, they build a nest in a tree from twigs and branches. The female lays two to four light-colored eggs over a period of several days. She broods the eggs while the male brings her food. Eggs hatch after about a month, and both parents feed the young. The young fledge at just over one month of age.

Adaptations: Predators-Raccoon, great horned owl. Crows may take eggs and nestlings. If you see a hawk with two white bands and two black bands on its broad tail, it's probably a broad-winged hawk. This is one of the few American hawks that migrates in groups/kettles.  Thousands of broad-winged hawks migrate together-birders have seen 8,000 to 10,000 migrating over Hawk Ridge in Duluth
in a single day.