Wildwood Zoo

Meet the Rough-legged Hawk at Wildwood Zoo

 Rough-legged Hawk

We have one Rough-legged Hawk at the zoo named Bella.  She was named by the students at Madison Elementary participating in our Recycling for Wildwood Zoo program.   Bella has an injury her wing and is non-releasable.  She came to us from Utah in 2013. 

Rough-legged hawks are fairly large with long broad wings.  Their flight feathers are pale, with a dark trailing edge to the wings.  They have black marks at their wrists.  Their tails are broad, with white at the base and a broad dark tip.  Commonly they have a pale, streaked chest and broad dark belly.  They may be all dark, but still have pale wing feathers and white at the base of the tail.  The name "Rough-legged" hawk refers to the feathered legs. The Rough-legged hawk, the Ferruginous hawk, and the Golden Eagle are the only American hawks to have legs feathered all the way to the toes.

Their geographic range includes most of the United States and all of Canada. Rough-legged hawks spend their winter months in all of the United States except for North Carolina and along the southeast coast of the United States, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. They are found as far north as Newfoundland and as far west as central Europe and parts of Russia.

Look for this hawk in open coniferous forest, tundra and generally barren country, breeding on cliffs or in trees, and wintering in grasslands and open cultivated areas.

Clutch Size: 1–7 eggs
Number of Broods: 1 brood
Incubation Period: 31-35 days
Nests often consist of a large bowl of sticks lined with grasses, sedges, small twigs, and greenery, usually on a cliff ledge.  A hawk of the North, the Rough-legged hawk breeds in Arctic tundra and taiga regions around the northern hemisphere.

Life Expectancy
In the wild: 2-15 years
In human care: 20-30 years

Natural Diet
Rough-legged hawk diets consist of small mammals and some birds.

Rough-legged Hawk Range in North America
map rough legged hawk 
 For more information, please visit USGS.

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