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Broad-winged hawk (Buteo platypterus)

Broad-winged hawk
Photo credit: David Cabral @ Dreamstime.com

NH Conservation Status: Not listed

 

Federal Status: Not listed; Broad-winged hawks are legally protected in New Hampshire. Possession and take (which includes harming, harassing, injuring and killing) is illegal.

 

Distribution: Common breeder throughout New Hampshire. Thousands may be seen during fall migration which peaks between September 1 and October 31.

 

Description: 14-19” from head to tail with a 32-39” wingspan. Brown on top with white wing linings and barred or streaked chest. Both males and females have a short, wide tail with three wide black bands separated by white bands.

 

Voice: A long, shrill, “kee-eeeeeeee”

 

Commonly Confused Species: Red-shouldered hawks have reddish shoulders, wing linings and underparts, longer tails and faster wingbeats.

 

Habitat: Hardwood and mixed forests often near lakes, ponds and marshes. They spend much of their time under the forest canopy but may be seen perching on forest edges, or soaring across fields, yards, or other open areas.

 

Nesting: Broad-winged hawks commonly establish nests in April - June in deciduous trees such as black and yellow birch between late April and the end of June. Nesting has been documented up to 2,500 feet in elevation in the White Mountains. Females typically lay 2 or 3 eggs which hatch after 28-35 days of incubation. Nestlings are able to fly around one month of age.

 

Diet: Primarily small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects.

 

Broad-winged Hawk
Broad-winged hawk in flight.

Photo credit: Steve Byland @ Dreamstime.com