Nature Journal
with Photos

          
Broad-winged Hawk Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
 
General Information
- Sexes similar
- Short, dark, hooked beak
- Medium-sized, broad-winged, broad-tailed hawk
- Short, broad wings somewhat pointed at the tip

Light morph adult
- Dark brown head, nape, upperwing, and back
- Pale breast with thick, reddish bars to belly
- Pale underwing with thick black margin to trailing edge
- Thick black and white bands on tail of even width

Light morph immature
- Dark brown head, back, and upperwing
- Pale breast streaked with black
- Pale underwing with indistinct, broad, black trailing
  edge
- Tail dark brown above and pale below with dark bands

Dark morph adult
- Rare breeder in Alberta and rare migrant in West and
  Midwest
- Dark chocolate brown head, back, breast, upperwings,
  belly, and underwing coverts
- Black and white bands on tail of even width
- Pale silvery flight feathers below are barred with black
- Broad, black trailing edge to wings

Dark morph immature
- Dark chocolate brown head, back, upperwings, breast,
  belly, and undertail coverts often with paler rufous
  and white streaks
- Tail dark above and pale below with narrow dark
  bands
- Pale silvery flight feathers with some barring and often
  a pale, rectangular window in the outer wing
- Indistinct dark margin to trailing edge of wing

Similar species
Red-shouldered Hawk is similar in adult plumage but has reddish shoulders, a pale crescent in the wings, lacks the distinct black border to the trailing edge of the wing, and the white bands on the tail are much narrower than the black bands. Immatures can be distinguished by shape and crescent-shaped pale window in outer primaries.

Dark morph Swainson's Hawk has pale undertail coverts. Other dark buteos are much larger with much broader wings (Red-tailed, Rough-legged, and Ferruginous).

Immature dark morph Short-tailed Hawk has darker secondaries that contrast with the pale primaries and does not overlap with the range of the dark morph Broad-winged Hawk.
 
 
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