FWS Focus


Ferruginous Hawks are very large, broad-winged hawks with two distinguished types of plumage referred to as light morphs and dark morphs. Light morph Ferruginous Hawks are distinguishable by their white under parts with intermingled gray or brownish speckling, and a dark brownish V on the underside directly in front of the tail. Dark morphs are distinguishable by their lightly tails and upper and lower primaries. The rest of their bodies are dark brown. Males and females have similar plumage. However, females are slightly larger and tend to have slightly darker coloring on their legs and belly (Bechard and Schmutz 1995).

Life History information provided for the Ferruginous Hawk is summarized from the Birds of North America Online (http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/).

References Cited in Species Profile

  • Bakker, K. K. 2005. South Dakota All Bird Conservation Plan. South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, Wildlife Division Report 2005-09.
  • Bechard, Marc J. and Josef K. Schmutz. 1995. Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/172
  • Dechant, J. A., M. L. Sondreal, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, A. L. Zimmerman, and B. R. Euliss. 1999 (revised 2002). Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Ferruginous hawk. Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND. 23 pages.
  • Goodrich, L.J., and J.P. Smith. 2008. Raptor migration in North America. Pp. 37-149 in K.L. Bildstein, J.P. Smith, E. Ruelas Inzunza, and R.R. Veit (eds.), State of North America's birds of prey Nuttall Ornithological Club, Cambridge, MA, and American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C
  • Wheeler, B.K., C.M. White and J.M. Economidy. 2003. Raptors of Western North America: The Wheeler Guide.

Scientific Name

Buteo regalis
Common Name
Ferruginous Hawk
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree


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