Broad-winged Hawk
(Buteo platypterus)


Picture of bird
© Len Blumin - License
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Broad-winged Hawk is a common, but secretive bird of Canada's southern deciduous and mixed forests from Alberta east to the Maritime provinces. The Breeding Bird Survey indicates that Canadian populations have increased moderately but steadily since about 1970. This species was persecuted in the past, a practice that has declined but still continues in some areas (Goodrich et al. 2014). This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2012 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaModerate IncreaseHigh

Population estimate

Canada500,000 to 5,000,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population


Conservation and management

The affinity of this species to large patches of forest cover (Szuba 2007) raises concerns for forest fragmentation on the breeding grounds as well as for the wintering grounds in Central and South America (Goodrich et al. 2014). Reforestation in parts of eastern North America likely increased breeding habitat in the twentieth century (Goodrich et al. 2014) though the amount of available large tracts is not well known. Forest management regimes that limit timber growth to less than 40-year cycles are likely unfavourable to the species (Goodrich et al. 2014).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Boreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Hardwood Transition, sub-region and priority type: Ontario Region
Boreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Hardwood Transition, sub-region and priority type: Quebec Region
Boreal Taiga PlainsBoreal Taiga Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region