Rough-legged Hawk
(Buteo lagopus)

Summary

Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Rough-legged Hawk breeds in the arctic tundra across the Northern Hemisphere. The Canadian population is best monitored by the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) when the birds are on their wintering grounds in southern Canada and the United States. Results from the CBC indicate little overall change in the population relative to about 1970. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.

Designations

Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2013 
Partners in Flight (North America)Stewardship List2012 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaLittle ChangeMedium
 

Population estimate

Canada50,000 to 500,000 adults
 

Distribution maps

 

Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population

CanadaModerate

Conservation and management

Rough-legged Hawks are specialist predators of small mammals such as voles and lemmings, so population fluctuations are generally attributed to fluctuations in prey populations (Bechard and Swem 2002). They commonly winter in areas of intensive agriculture, but highest densities are in pastures managed for wildlife with appropriate levels of grazing (Bechard and Swem 2002). Shooting and highway collisions are important causes of mortality (Bechard and Swem 2002).

 

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
Arctic Plains and MountainsArctic Plains and Mountains, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Newfoundland and Labrador
Arctic Plains and MountainsArctic Plains and Mountains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region
Arctic Plains and MountainsArctic Plains and Mountains, sub-region and priority type: Quebec Region
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon Region
Northern Pacific RainforestNorthern Pacific Rainforest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon Region
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Newfoundland and Labrador
 

References