Buteo lagopus - (Pontoppidan, 1763)
Rough-legged Hawk
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Buteo lagopus (Pontoppidan, 1763) (TSN 175373)
French Common Names: buse pattue
Spanish Common Names: Aguililla Ártica
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105206
Element Code: ABNKC19130
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
Image 11139

© Jeff Nadler

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae Buteo
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Buteo lagopus
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 22Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5N,N5M (29Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S3N), Alaska (S4B), Arizona (SNRN), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNRN), Colorado (S5N), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (S1N), Georgia (S3), Idaho (S4N), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (S5N), Kansas (S4N), Kentucky (S3N), Maine (S2S3N), Maryland (S2N), Massachusetts (S3N), Michigan (SNRN), Minnesota (SNRN), Missouri (SNRN), Montana (S5N), Navajo Nation (S3N), Nebraska (SNRN), Nevada (S4N), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (S4N), New York (SNRN), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNRN), Ohio (SNRN), Oklahoma (S5N), Oregon (S4N), Pennsylvania (S4N), South Dakota (S4N), Tennessee (S3N), Texas (S3N), Utah (S4S5N), Vermont (S4N), Virginia (S1N), Washington (S4N), West Virginia (S3N), Wisconsin (S3N), Wyoming (S5N)
Canada Alberta (S5M), British Columbia (S3N), Labrador (S4B,SUM), Manitoba (S3S4B), New Brunswick (S4N,S4M), Newfoundland Island (S2S3), Northwest Territories (S4?B), Nova Scotia (S3N), Nunavut (SUB,SUM), Ontario (S1B,S4N), Prince Edward Island (S2S3N), Quebec (S4?), Saskatchewan (S4M,S4N), Yukon Territory (S3B)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Not at Risk (01Apr1995)
Comments on COSEWIC: Reason for designation: Widespread, no evidence of decline, no obvious threats. 

Status history: Designated Not at Risk in April 1995.

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix II

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Panboreal. BREEDS: in Noth America, from Aleutians and western and northern Alaska across low arctic and subarctic Canada. See Bechard and Houston (1984) for erroneous nest records. WINTERS: mainly from southern Canada south to southern California, southern Arizona, southern New Mexico, southern Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, casually to eastern Texas and the Gulf Coast. Most numerous in winter in the Great Basin and central and northern Great Plains (Root 1988).

Short-term Trend Comments: There was no consistent trend in migration counts in northeastern North America, 1972-1987 (Titus and Fuller 1990).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Panboreal. BREEDS: in Noth America, from Aleutians and western and northern Alaska across low arctic and subarctic Canada. See Bechard and Houston (1984) for erroneous nest records. WINTERS: mainly from southern Canada south to southern California, southern Arizona, southern New Mexico, southern Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, casually to eastern Texas and the Gulf Coast. Most numerous in winter in the Great Basin and central and northern Great Plains (Root 1988).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe 2005; NatureServe, 2005; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AZ Navajo (04017)
ID Ada (16001), Adams (16003), Bannock (16005), Bear Lake (16007), Benewah (16009), Bingham (16011), Blaine (16013), Boise (16015), Bonner (16017), Bonneville (16019), Boundary (16021), Butte (16023), Camas (16025), Canyon (16027), Caribou (16029), Cassia (16031), Clark (16033), Clearwater (16035), Custer (16037), Elmore (16039), Franklin (16041), Fremont (16043), Gem (16045), Gooding (16047), Idaho (16049), Jefferson (16051), Jerome (16053), Kootenai (16055), Latah (16057), Lemhi (16059), Lewis (16061), Lincoln (16063), Madison (16065), Minidoka (16067), Nez Perce (16069), Oneida (16071), Owyhee (16073), Payette (16075), Power (16077), Shoshone (16079), Teton (16081), Twin Falls (16083), Valley (16085), Washington (16087)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
15 Moenkopi Wash (15020018)+
16 Central Bear (16010102)+, Bear Lake (16010201)+, Middle Bear (16010202)+, Curlew Valley (16020309)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Lower Clark Fork (17010213)+, Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+, Priest (17010215)+, Upper Coeur D'alene (17010301)+, Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+, St. Joe (17010304)+, Upper Spokane (17010305)+, Hangman (17010306)+, Palisades (17040104)+, Idaho Falls (17040201)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Lower Henrys (17040203)+, Teton (17040204)+, Willow (17040205)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Blackfoot (17040207)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Raft (17040210)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Salmon Falls (17040213)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, Medicine Lodge (17040215)+, Birch (17040216)+, Little Lost (17040217)+, Big Lost (17040218)+, Big Wood (17040219)+, Camas (17040220)+, Little Wood (17040221)+, C. J. Idaho (17050101)+, Bruneau (17050102)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Upper Owyhee (17050104)+, Jordan (17050108)+, Boise-Mores (17050112)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Middle Snake-Payette (17050115)+, South Fork Payette (17050120)+, Middle Fork Payette (17050121)+, Payette (17050122)+, North Fork Payette (17050123)+, Weiser (17050124)+, Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103)+, Palouse (17060108)+, Upper Salmon (17060201)+, Pahsimeroi (17060202)+, Middle Salmon-Panther (17060203)+, Lemhi (17060204)+, Lower Salmon (17060209)+, Little Salmon (17060210)+, Lochsa (17060303)+, South Fork Clearwater (17060305)+, Clearwater (17060306)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Egg dates: May-June in Labrador; May-July (peak in May or June in various areas in Alaska and arctic Canada. Average hatching date in southwestern Alaska: mid-June; mid-July in northern Yukon. Clutch size is 2-7, largest when lemmings are abundant). Incubation, mainly by female, lasts 28-31 days. Young are tended by both parents, fly well at about 5-6 weeks; some may be independent a month or less after attaining flight (Palmer 1988). First breeds probably at 2 years. Number of breeding pairs and/or breeding success usually increase with lemming/vole abundance.
Ecology Comments: Productivity fluctuates greatly in relation to prey density. Winter territory encompasses about 10-16 sq km (Zarn 1974); may aggregate and roost in groups where food is abundant. Nesting territory probably as small as 5-6 sq km when prey density high (Palmer 1988).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates north from wintering grounds in U.S. March-May; arrives in northern breeding areas in Beaufort Sea area by late April-early May. Southward migration occurs in fall, arriving in the U.S. mostly in September-October; present in southern winter range mostly November-February (Palmer 1988).
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cliff, Cropland/hedgerow, Desert, Grassland/herbaceous, Savanna, Tundra, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: Nonbreeding: grasslands, field, marshes, sagebrush flats, and open cultivated areas; sometimes rat-infested garbage dumps. Nests on cliffs (typically) or in trees in arctic and subarctic, in tundra, mountain sides, forests with plenty of open ground. Sometimes nests on the ground or on man-made structures. Apparently nests more commonly along coasts and on marine islands. May compete for nest sites with raven, peregrine falcon, and gyrfalcon (latter two often use nests built by rough-legged hawk). May use same nest in successive years.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore
Food Comments: Feeds primarily on microtine rodents and other small mammals (lemmings, mice, ground squirrels, cottontails, etc., including carrion); also eats small birds and game birds, in addition to some insects. Hunts in the air, captures most food on the ground.
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Phenology Comments: Hunting crepuscular to considerable extent (Palmer 1988).
Length: 56 centimeters
Weight: 1278 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Hawks and Falcons

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Feeding Area, Nest Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Mapping Guidance: If nest site is separated from feeding area by more than 100 meters, map as separate polygons.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance a compromise between usually relatively small home ranges and obvious mobility of these birds. Home ranges variable, ranging from about 0.5 to about 90 square kilometers; the latter figure refers to nests where birds commuted some distance to feeding grounds. A number of studies give mean home ranges on the order of 7 square kilometers, which equates to a circle with a diameter of about 3 kilometers; three times that home range gives a separation distance of about 10 kilometers. Home ranges: Ferruginous Hawk, mean 5.9 square kilometers in Utah (Smith and Murphy 1973); range 2.4 to 21.7 square kilometers, mean 7.0 square kilometers in Idaho (Olendorff 1993); mean 7.6 square kilometers in Idaho (McAnnis 1990); mean 90 square kilometers in Washington (Leary et al. 1998); Red-tailed Hawk, most forage within 3 kilometers of nest (Kochert 1986); mean spring and summer male home ranges 148 hectares (Petersen 1979); Hawaiian Hawk, 48 to 608 hectares (n = 16; Clarkson and Laniawe 2000); Zone-tailed Hawk, little information, apparent home range 1-2 kilometers/pair in west Texas (Johnson et al. 2000); White tailed Kite, rarely hunts more than 0.8 kilometers from nest (Hawbecker 1942); Prairie Falcon, 26 square kilometers in Wyoming (Craighead and Craighead 1956), 59 to 314 square kilometers (reported by Steenhof 1998); Aplomado Falcon, 2.6 to 9.0 square kilometers (n = 5, Hector 1988), 3.3 to 21.4 square kilometers (n = 10, Montoya et al. 1997). Nest site fidelity: high in Zone-tailed Hawk; all seven west Texas nesting territories occupied in 1975 were reused in 1976 (Matteson and Riley 1981). Swainson's Hawk: In California, dispersal distances from natal sites to subsequent breeding sites ranged from 0 to 18 kilometers, mean 8.8 kilometers (Woodbridge et al. 1995); in contrast, none of 697 nestlings in Saskatchewan returned to the study area; three were found 190, 200 and 310 kilometers away (Houston and Schmutz 1995).
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Foraging range variable; 3 kilometers is the mean diameter in several species.
Date: 13Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging area, Roosting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of wintering birds (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, usually minimally a reliable observation of 5 birds (this can be reduced to 1 individual for rarer species). Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. However, occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 15Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 16Mar1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • See SERO listing

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  • Zarn M. 1974. Habitat management series for unique or endangered species, Report No. 14, Rough-legged hawk (BUTEO LAGOPUS SANCTIJOHANNIS). Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Dept. of Int., Technical Note, T-N-270, Denver.

  • Zarn, M. 1974c. Habitat management series for unique or endangered species, Report No. 11, Burrowing owl, Speotyto cunicularia hypugaea. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Dept. of Int., Technical Note, T-N-250, Denver.

  • eBird. 2016. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Available: http://www.ebird.org. Accessed in 2016.

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