Natural History

Ferruginous Hawk

posted: 05/11/13
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FERRUGINOUS HAWKS, Badlands National Park, South Dakota | Photo Caption: Excerpted from North America: A World In One Continent by Huw Cordey

These large grassland hawks are the biggest ground-nesting birds in North America. The lack of trees on the plains means they build their nests on ledges, rocks, platforms, and on the ground, so their eggs and young are especially vulnerable to predators.

They are so large that they are sometimes mistaken for eagles. Their wingspan is four to five feet (1.2 to 1.5 m) and as with all birds of prey, the females are bigger than the males. The hawks bond in pairs long-term and return to their familiar nesting grounds. The female will stay with the chicks for the first three weeks, and after that, both parents will hunt.

EXPLORE THE GREAT PLAINS: American Bison | Prairie Dog | Red Fox | Ferruginous Hawk | Pronghorn | Jumping Spider | Bobcat | Prairie Chicken | Burrowing Owl | Pocket Gopher | Snow Goose | All North American Animals

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