Very large soaring hawk with a wingspan of up to1.4 m. Fan shaped tail and distinctively tapered broad wings with narrow tips. In flight the rusty-red legs form a distinctive dark V-shape against an otherwise snow-white body and under tail area. When perched, look for the unmarked snow-white breast, rusty-red shoulders and back, and pale head with grey cheeks. Dark phase adults feature a brown body and secondary feathers contrasting against the white primary and tail feathers.
Prefers open grassland habitats dominated by grasses or sparse sagebrush. For nesting it requires a raised rocky outcrop or wildlife tree surrounded by open grassland where it can forage for its preferred prey, the Columbian Ground Squirrel. There have only been a few records of Ferruginous Hawk in the Okanagan-Similkameen region.
Habitat loss from agricultural and urban development
Fire suppression leading to tree encroachment and in growth
Intensive grazing and invasive species reducing suitable habitat for prey species Removal of wildlife trees used as nest sites
You Can Help!
Protect natural open grassland areas
Retain wildlife trees, especially those with established hawk nests
Reduce livestock grazing
Reduce soil disturbance to prevent invasive plants from establishing
Consult with professionals about developing and implementing a prescribed burn prescription