Rough-Legged Hawk

Buteo lagopus
Range Map

The Rough-Legged Hawk breeds in high Arctic regions of the northern hemisphere, where they raise families and hunt small mammals, such as lemmings. They spend winters in the lower 48 states of the USA, and similar latitudes in Europe and Asia.

The moniker Rough-Legged refers to the feathering on their legs that extends all the way to their toes; a trait shared only with Golden Eagles and Ferruginous Hawks.

Science recognises four subspecies of Rough-Legged Hawk:

  • B. l. sanctijohannis breeds in Alaska and northern Canada, and spends winters in the USA. Europe east through central Asia.
  • B. l. kamtschatkensis breeds along the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk, Kamchatka and Kuril Island, and spends winters in southeastern Russia, northeastern China and Japan.
  • B. l. lagopus breeds in northern Eurasia from Scandinavia eastward. They spend winters in central Europe and east through central Asia.
  • B. l. menzbieri breeds in northeastern Asia and spends winters in central Asia and east to China and Japan.

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