The Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus), is a medium-large bird of prey. An adult has an average weight of 1,026 g, a wingspan of 134 cm, and an average total length of 53 cm. They breed in North America and migrate further south in winter.
It breeds on cliffs, slopes or in trees, laying about four eggs, but more in good lemming years. It hunts over open land, eating mainly small mammals, and will come to carrion. This species, along with the Osprey, is one of the few large birds of prey to hover regularly.
Compared to the Common Buzzard, it is longer-winged and more eagle-like in appearance. Its feet are feathered to the toes (hence its scientific name, meaning "hare-footed") as an adaptation to its arctic home range. Its toes are short for its size.
It has a wide variety of plumages, but is typically brown above and paler below, with dark belly and carpal patches. The head is typically pale. The tail is white with a dark terminal band. Some Canadian birds are all-dark, comprising up to 40% of the population in the east.
* BirdLife International (2004). Buteo lagopus. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern.
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