Rough-Legged Hawk (Rough-Legged Buzzard)

Its scientific name, lagopus, is Ancient Greek for “hare” and “foot,” referring to its feathered feet and toes.
Rough-Legged Hawk (Rough-Legged Buzzard) Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Buteo lagopus
Rough-Legged Hawk (Rough-Legged Buzzard) Physical Characteristics
White, Dark Brown
350,000 to 800,000
7.5 years
1.32 to 3.66 pounds
Rough-Legged Hawk (Rough-Legged Buzzard) Distribition

Their environments consist of expanse and Arctic shores throughout the reproducing period.


The harsh- legged hawk ( Buteo lagopus), likewise called the harsh- legged buzzard, resides on 3 continents throughout 50 nations. It lives in the Arctic expanse throughout springtime and summertime and open meadows and grassy fields throughout the winter months. This hawk has uncommon adjustments, such as feathery feet and quick wing beats, enabling it to float in position. Discover all the intriguing realities concerning the harsh- legged hawk, consisting of where it lives, what it consumes, and exactly how it acts.

5 Impressive Harsh- legged Hawk Realities

  • The harsh- legged hawk develops its nest utilizing Arctic plants and caribou bones, lining it with plumes and hair.
  • Its scientific name, lagopus, is Old Greek for “hare” and “foot,” describing its feathery feet and toes.
  • They have loud alarm system calls that seem like cat “mews.”
  • They are the only hawk species that can float in one area by swiftly defeating their wings.
  • Their favored food is rodents and tiny birds. They will certainly likewise swipe food from various other raptors.

Where to Discover the Harsh- legged Hawk

Harsh- legged hawks stay in The United States and Canada, Europe, and Asia in over 50 nations, consisting of Canada, The USA, France, Germany, and China. They reproduce in Arctic and Subarctic areas and move southern for the winter months, regarding the Central USA, Southern Europe, and Asia. You can discover them as much southern as Texas in the USA, and they are usually lacking from the Southeast. Their environments consist of expanse and Arctic shores throughout the reproducing period. Yet they invest their winter times in open nation like meadows, seaside grassy fields, marshes, farmlands, and dunes.

Harsh- legged Hawk Nest

Males select revealed cliffsides, high trees, or structures for their nest websites. Males accumulate the products, while females invest 3 to 4 weeks constructing a large system containing Arctic plants and caribou bones. She lines the withins with lawn, plumes, and hair. This species might recycle the exact same nest for a number of reproducing periods.

Scientific Name

The harsh- legged hawk ( Buteo lagopus) is from the Accipitriformes order in the Accipitridae family, incorporating tiny to big birds with highly addicted expenses. The Buteo genus makes up the hawks in The United States and Canada and the buzzards in Europe. Its details name, lagopus, is Old Greek for “hare” and “foot,” mirroring its feathery feet.

There are 3 acknowledged subspecies of harsh- legged hawks:

  • B. l. Lagopus: Northern Europe and Asia
  • B. l. Sanctijohannis: The United States And Canada
  • B. l. Kamtchatkensis: North Siberia to Pacific The United States And Canada

Dimension, Appearance & Actions

Rough-Legged Hawk
The harsh- legged hawk (Buteo lagopus), likewise called the harsh- legged buzzard, resides on 3 continents throughout 50 nations.1,024 × & times; 713 pixels, documents dimension: 355 KB, comedian kind: image/jpeg – Certificate

The harsh- legged hawk is a fairly big predator, gauging 18 to 24 inches long and considering 1.32 to 3.66 extra pounds, with a 47 to 60- inch wingspan. They have long, slim wings (contrasted to various other hawks), which produces a mild M- form mid- trip. These hawks are dark brownish with vibrant patterns, and their tails are dark at the ideas and fade at the base. They happen in light and dark morphs, similar to various other hawk species. Their transformative adjustments include tiny talons to capture their target of option and feathery feet and toes to stand up to the chilly Arctic areas.

This species is largely singular however types virginal set bonds throughout the reproducing period and might move alone or with tiny teams. Harsh- legged hawks have an uncommon attribute: they defeat their wings swiftly and float over one area while searching. Nevertheless, their precise rate is unidentified. Their alarm system phone calls are loud and cat- like, lasting a number of secs and duplicating. And their common phone calls are whistles with a coming down range. Both can be made while perched or in trip.

Movement Pattern and Timing

They are tool- range travelers that reproduce in the expanse and boreal woodlands in the north areas of The United States and Canada and Eurasia. Populaces in The United States and Canada move to Southern Canada and the Central USA throughout winter months. And those in Eurasia move to Southern Europe and Asia.


The harsh- legged hawk is a predator and an opportunistic seeker. Tiny creatures compose 62 to 98% of their diet.

What Does the Harsh- legged Hawk Eat?

Their diet largely contains tiny rodents, such as lemmings, voles, mice, rats, gerbils, shrews, and squirrels. Birds are their 2nd favored sort of target, generally passerines like pennants and sparrows. They periodically victimize bigger birds, such as waterfowl and brief- eared owls. They might turn to consuming bigger creatures like jackrabbits and prairie dogs when food is limited. Harsh- legged hawks are opportunistic and hostile seekers, commonly swiping target from their very own species and various other raptors. They search throughout the day and either watch target from a stoop prior to stooping or capture it mid- trip. Unlike many predators, these hawks float in the air while looking for food.

Predators, Hazards, and Conservation Status

The IUCN notes the harsh- legged hawk as LC or “least concern.” Because of its substantial array and huge, steady population, this species does not fulfill “intimidated” condition limits. Nevertheless, this species deals with a number of dangers. Historically, it was substantially intimidated by capturing and capturing however is no more a serious danger. Its various other dangers consist of accidents, unexpected capture from bear catches, chemicals, and the results of environment modification like varying weather condition and raised rains. Climate adjustments can create not successful reproduction and broke down nests.

What Consumes the Harsh- legged Hawk?

A number of animals victimize harsh- legged hawk nests, such as Arctic foxes, brown bears, wolverines, ravens, skuas, and snowy owls. Grown-up hawks have extremely couple of all-natural predators however might pass away in disputes with various other raptors like eagles, falcons, owls, and various other hawks. Like various other predators, Harsh- legged hawks are protective of their areas. They provide alarm system phone calls and will certainly repel burglars to safeguard their nests and locations.

Reproduction, Youthful, and Molting

Harsh- legged hawks get to sex-related maturation at 2 years and develop virginal set bonds, mating with the exact same companion for a number of years, possibly forever. They start searching for their nesting areas throughout the autumn, and reproducing happens throughout May. Females lay approximately 3 to 5 eggs and nurture them for 31 days, while the males bring food. The young fledge the nest 4 to 6 weeks after hatching out however depend upon their moms and dads for food for an additional 2 to 4 weeks. Their typical life-span is 7.5 years, however they can meet 18 years.


The worldwide harsh- legged hawk population is approximated to number 350,000 to 800,000 fully grown people. Its European and North American populaces are presently steady and have actually been considering that the 1970s. Nevertheless, teams in some locations might vary relying on the schedule of tiny creatures as a food resource.


  1. Red List / BirdLife International, Available here:
  2. JSTOR / The Condor, Available here:
  3. Oxford Academic / The Auk / Andréanne Beardsell, Gilles Gauthier, Jean-François Therrien, Joël Bêty, Available here:

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