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Broad-winged Hawk
Buteo platypterus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Antigua Broad-winged Hawk (insulicola), Antillean Broad-winged Hawk (antillarum), Broad-winged Buzzard, Chicken Hawk, Cuban Broad-winged Hawk (cubanensis), Dominican Broad-winged Hawk (rivierei), Northern Broad-winged Hawk (platypterus), Puerto Rican Broad-winged Hawk (brunnescens).

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Buteo platypterus
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Distribution: Nearctic/Neotropical. Breeds from southern CANADA (central British Columbia, central Manitoba, southern Quebec, Nova Scotia) to southern UNITED STATES (eastern Texas, Gulf Coast, northern Florida) with endemic populations in LESSER ANTILLES, CUBA, and PUERTO RICO; nominate race winters from MEXICO to PERU and BRAZIL, rarely to ARGENTINA (Jujuy). more....

Subspecies: 6 races. B. p. antillarum: LESSER ANTILLES (St. Vincent and Grenada) to TOBAGO; B. p. brunnescens: PUERTO RICO; B. p. cubanensis: CUBA; B. p. insulicola: LESSER ANTILLES (Antigua); B. p. platypterus: Central and southern CANADA to southern UNITED STATES; winters from MEXICO south to BRAZIL (Amazonia, Mato Grosso)and northern ARGENTINA; CUBA; B. p. rivierei: LESSER ANTILLES (Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia).

Taxonomy: Bildstein and Zalles (2005) have suggested that the insular races on Caribbean islands may have derived from "migration dosing," which occurs in areas of misdirected migration, stranding isolated individuals unable to return to their usual breeding grounds. This is plausible in the case of the Broad-winged Hawk, since the West Indies are well east of the main migratory route of this species.

Movements: The nominate race, (platypterus), is a complete, long distance, trans-equatorial migrant (Bildstein 2006). The five races endemic to West Indian islands are sedentary. Hundreds of thousands of these hawks migrate annually from their breeding grounds in eastern North America along the Transamerican Flyway to their wintering grounds in Central and South America (Bildstein and Zalles 2005). Smith (1980) asserted that most of the birds wintering in Central America, including Panama, are immatures, while adults dominate in South America. more....

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in lowlands and middle elevations. On its winter range, this species occur in forested areas, including lines of trees through cultivated areas, and older stands of second-growth (Wetmore 1965). It soars a great deal, but spend most of its time perched at or below medium height in trees, often in semi-open areas. Generally solitary and probably somewhat territorial on its winter range (Slud 1964). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on snakes, lizards, grasshoppers, and occasionally birds. Feeds regularly in burned fields. more....

Breeding: Builds a large stick nest lined with moss and bark and placed high in a tree. Cltuch size is 2-3 eggs, which are white with brown markings. more....

Conservation: Common and widspread over the forested portions of northern and eastern North America. The Puerto Rican race is Endangered and a recent population estimate was only 124 birds (Goodrich 2006). Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Population Estimates: Rich et al. (2004) estimated the North American population at 1,728,000 individuals, based mainly on Breeding Bird Surveys, and Goodrich et al. (1996) estimated a similar total of 1,700,000 individuals on the basis of migration counts at the Veracruz River of Raptors hawkwatch site. Based on data from the latter site from 1992-2004 and assumptions about the number of birds migrating into Cuba, Ruelas Inzunza et al. (2010) revised the estimate for North America upward to 2,125,000 individuals.

Important References: 
Bent, A.C. 1937. Life histories of North American birds of prey. Order
  Falconiformes (Part 1). U.S. National Museum Bulletin 167.
Burns, F.L. 1911. A monograph of the Broad-winged Hawk. Wilson Bulletin
Crocoll, S.T., and J.W. Parker. 1989. The breeding biology of Broad-winged
  and Red-shouldered Hawks in western New York. Journal of Raptor Research
Farmer, C.J., L.J. Goodrich, E. Ruelas Inzunzas, and J.P. Smith. 2007.
  Conservation status of North American raptors. Conservation status report:
  Broad-winged Hawk.
Goodrich, L.J., S.C. Crocoll, and S.E. Senner. 1996. Broad-winged Hawk
  (Buteo platypterus). In A. Poole and F. Gill (eds.), The Birds of North
  America no. 218. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
Henstenberg, D.W., and F.J. Vilella. 2005. Nesting ecology and behavior of
  Broad-winged Hawks in moist karst forests of Puerto Rico.
  Journal of Raptor Research 39:404-416.
Matray, P.F. 1974. Broad-winged Hawk nesting and ecology. Auk 91:307-324.
Rusch, D.H., and P.D. Doerr. 1972. Broad-winged Hawk nesting and food
  habits. Auk 89:139-145.
White, C.M. 1994. Broad-winged Hawk. P. 180 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott,
  and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World
  vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Sites of Interest:
Broad-winged Hawk photos.
Aves de Rapaces do Brasil
Species account with emphasis on Brazil.

Bildstein, Keith
Crocoll, Scott
Goodrich, Laurie
Hall, Wendy
Salvador Jr, Luiz
Sanchez, Cesar
Shrum, Peggy
Smith, Jeff

Last modified: 12/1/2011

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 4 Jun. 2020

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