Somewhat smaller than the Red-tailed Hawk, the Broad-winged Hawk 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.Rights Holder
: UnknownBibliographic Citation
: Rumelt, Reid B. Buteo platypterus. June-July 2012. Brief natural history summary of Buteo platypterus. Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.