Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Jim Parrish
Photo Copyright Jim Parrish

The broad-winged hawk, Buteo platypterus, breeds primarily in the eastern United States, though its breeding range extends far westward into Alberta in southern Canada. In winter, this hawk migrates south, often in large flocks, to tropical forests in Central America and South America. Migratory flocks avoid crossing the Gulf of Mexico, and instead follow migratory routes through Mexico and Central America. Small numbers of this hawk pass through Utah during migration.

Prey items include a variety of small vertebrates, such as small mammals, birds, snakes, and frogs. Often this hawk builds nests under the tree canopy at forest edges, frequently near wet areas. Nests are usually constructed in the crotch of a moderate or large sized tree, or on a branch next to the tree trunk, about 20 to 30 feet above ground. The nest may be a modified nest of another bird or a squirrel. Eggs are laid in May, the clutch size usually being two or three eggs. Incubation lasts 30 to 38 days and is normally done by the female, while the male brings food to the nest. Young are tended by both parents and leave the nest after 29 to 31 days. Young are not capable of sustained flight until they reach five or six weeks of age. Parents continue to provide food to the young until they are almost two months old.


  • Goodrich, L. J., S. C. Crocoll, and S. E. Senner. 1996. Broad-winged hawk (Buteo platypterus). Birds of North America 218: 28 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.