Ferruginous Hawk

Buteo regalis

  • Classification: Bird
  • Lifespan in Captivity: 20-30yrs
  • Lifespan in the Wild: 8-15yrs
  • Wingspan: 4-5ft
  • Weight: 2-5lbs
  • Range: Western contiguous US, Northern Mexico
  • Habitat: Open prairie, shrubland
    • Diet in the Wild: small to medium mammals, esp. prairie dogs, jackrabbits, ground squirrels
    • Diet at Wildlife Images: rodents, poultry, donated meats

Ferruginous Hawk--Sage

The Ferruginous Hawk is the largest hawk species in North America. Because of its slow wing beats, it can sometimes resemble an eagle in flight. Its conservation status is of some concern to ecologists, as it has difficulty adapting to cultivated land and its favorite prey species are often targeted for elimination as pests (ground squirrels, marmots and other small to medium sized mammals). This species is also affected by poisoning, especially by rodenticides, as their diet consists mainly of rodents. This species is very dependent on tall trees or platforms to build nests. Before the disappearance of the American bison from the West, Ferruginous Hawk nests were often built with bison bones and wool.

Description: Large, pale head; long wings; white underside; rusty on top and legs; white panels in outer wing; feathered legs all the way down to toes


  • Usually alone or in pairs; will roost in small groups in winter
  • Mainly monogamous
  • Somewhat aggressive during breeding season
  • Roost on cliffs, haystacks, utility structures, trees, or the ground

Resident Animal Ambassador