Buteo platypterus (wide or broad winged)
Six recognized; only one subspecies in U.S. (B. p. platyptrus)
Central and southern Canada to Brazil
A woodland species, found in deep to semi-open mixed forest. Frequents edges
Diet consists of small mammals from mice to rabbits, birds up to the size of
grouse, reptiles, amphibians and insects, such as grasshoppers and dragonflies. Hunts, concealed, from a tree perch in forest or along edge of clearing. Sometimes prey is searched out by direct flight, generally at tree top level.
March to July. Solitary. The sloppy stick nest, lined with barkchips and
greenery 30-50 feet above the ground, is usually placed in the first main crotch of a deciduous (sometimes coniferous) tree. Will use nests of other raptors, crows or squirrels. Clutch of 2-3 eggs. Can breed at one year, but usually waits until 2 years.
Along with the Swainson’s Hawk, the Broad-winged is one of the most conspicuous North American raptor migrants because of the large concentrated flocks often numbering in the thousands. With the exception of the birds in South Florida, the entire North American population departs for the winter, the northern most birds traveling almost 8800 km. Spring migration peak is late March to early April in South Texas. The fall migration peaks in our area between mid September and early October.
Stable and common, with the North American population estimated at one