Ferruginous Hawk Bird Interesting facts

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawks are large, impressive raptors that are easily recognized by their rusty brown plumage. They are common across North America, making it easy to spot one perched atop a power pole or soaring overhead on a warm day. These hawks winter south of the U.S. but can be seen in many parts of the country during migration. While they may not be as flashy as other raptors like eagles or vultures, Ferruginous Hawks are certainly beautiful birds that are worth taking the time to watch and appreciate. Keep reading!

Ferruginous Hawk scientific name

There are many different kinds of hawks all across North America. The Ferruginous Hawk is just one of these many different kinds of hawks. This hawk gets its name from the rusty coloration of its feathers, which is most often seen in adults of the species. The scientific name for the Ferruginous Hawk is Buteo regalis, which literally translates to “royal hawk.” These magnificent birds of prey can be found in open grasslands and prairies, where they hunt for small mammals and reptiles. If you’re lucky enough to see a Ferruginous Hawk, you’ll never forget the experience.

Ferruginous Hawk physical appearance

The Ferruginous Hawk is a large bird of prey with a wingspan that can reach up to almost six feet. They are one of the heaviest hawks in North America, with males weighing up to four pounds and females up to five pounds. The name “ferruginous” comes from the Latin word for iron and refers to the hawk’s rust-colored plumage. The Ferruginous Hawk is sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females look different. Males have all white underparts, while females have heavily streaked underparts. Both sexes have a light-colored head and back with dark wingtips.

The Ferruginous Hawk can be found across North America, from Alaska all the way down to Mexico. They prefer open habitats such as grasslands, prairies, and deserts. These hawks are predators and will eat small mammals such as rabbits and ground squirrels. They will also eat reptiles, birds, and insects.

Ferruginous Hawk habitat

The Ferruginous Hawk is a large hawk of the buteo genus. It breeds throughout North America in all sorts of habitats, including: grasslands, badlands, sagebrush steppe, farmlands and even deserts. This hawk ranges farther north than any other Raptor making it the only Raptor to breed in all Canadian Provinces. The biggest threat to this bird is habitat loss and fragmentation due to agriculture and energy development. When breeding, the female builds a large nest, often with help from the male, on a cliff ledge, in a tree or even on the ground.

The Ferruginous Hawk feeds mainly on small mammals such as mice and ground squirrels which it hunts from a perch or while soaring. In winter, it relies heavily on voles and pocket gophers which are found in great numbers in agricultural fields where the snow has been cleared. This bird can be very aggressive when protecting its food and nests, attacking much larger animals such as coyotes, foxes and even human beings.

Ferruginous Hawk diet

The diet of the Ferruginous Hawk consists mostly of rabbits and rodents, which it hunts from a perch or by slowly circling above its territory. However, it will also eat birds, reptiles, scorpions, and insects. In fact, the Ferruginous Hawk has been known to eat just about anything it can catch! This versatility is one of the things that makes this bird such a successful hunter. The Ferruginous Hawk is adaptable and able to find food in a variety of habitats, from open grasslands to desert scrub. As a result, it is an essential part of the ecosystem in many different parts of North America.

Ferruginous Hawk behavior

The Ferruginous Hawk is a large raptor with long, broad wings and a wide tail. Adults are all dark brown above and all pale below, with variable amounts of rusty red (ferruginous) on the back, head, and underparts. The juvenile is similar to the adult but all dark brown above, with duller rusty-red on the head, back, and underparts. The eyes of both adults and juveniles are golden yellow. These Hawks soar on thermals and updrafts with little flapping of their wings. They typically hunt from a perch or while hovering in the air. Their diet consists primarily of small mammals such as mice and voles, but they will also eat reptiles, birds, and insects.

Ferruginous Hawks mate for life and typically nest in cliffs or trees. Both parents help to incubate the eggs and care for the young. Although they are found throughout North America, Ferruginous Hawks are most common in western states. These magnificent birds are truly a sight to behold.

Ferruginous Hawk interesting facts

  • The Ferruginous Hawk is a large hawk known for its all-white coloration.
  • It is the only member of the Buteo genus to have this plumage.
  • The Ferruginous Hawk breeds in open areas with little vegetation, such as grasslands, deserts, and prairies.
  • It nests on cliffs or in trees.
  • The Ferruginous Hawk preys on small mammals and birds.
  • It typically hunts from a perch but will also soar overhead in search of prey.
  • The Ferruginous Hawk is a protected species in the United States.

Ferruginous Hawk reproduction

The Ferruginous Hawk is a large hawk found in North America. It is the only member of the genus Buteo in which all three recognized color morphs – light, dark, and intermediate – are found. The light morph is the most common, followed by the dark morph. The Ferruginous Hawk prefers open grassland or prairie habitat for hunting. It will also use agricultural land if it has enough perching and hunting areas.

The Ferruginous Hawk nests in trees, on cliffs, or on the ground. The female lays 2-6 eggs, which hatch in 29-32 days. The young fledge at 45-50 days old. The Ferruginous Hawk hunts from a perch or by watching from the air for prey on the ground. It eats rodents, reptiles, birds, and large insects.

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk threats and predators

The Ferruginous Hawk is a large hawk native to North America. It gets its name from the rusty color of its feathers, and it is one of the few Hawks that can be seen in all 48 contiguous states. The Ferruginous Hawk preys on small mammals and reptiles, and it nests in trees or on cliffs.

However, the Ferruginous Hawk is not without its predators. Large birds of prey, such as eagles and owls, will sometimes hunt Ferruginous Hawks. And even though the Ferruginous Hawk is a large bird, it can also fall prey to snakes, coyotes, and foxes. Nevertheless, the Ferruginous Hawk remains a common sight in many parts of North America.


Is a Ferruginous Hawk bigger than a bald eagle?

The wingspan of a bald eagle is between 15 and 20 inches, whereas the Ferruginous Hawk’s wingspan is up to 60 inches. These giant eagles have wingspans almost double or triple the size of most hawk species.


Ferruginous Hawks are an interesting bird to watch. They are large hawk that is easily identified by their rust-colored feathers. They can be found in open areas across North America. These hawks prefer to live and hunt in grasslands, but they have also been known to inhabit deserts, prairies, and agricultural land. What’s really amazing about these birds is their hunting skills. They are able to take down prey that is much larger than themselves! If you’re ever lucky enough to see a Ferruginous Hawk in the wild, make sure you take the time to watch it closely. It’s truly a sight to behold.

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About the Author: Kinsey Locke

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