Broad-winged hawk
Buteo platypterus
ITIS Species Code:   175365         NatureServ Element Code:   ABNKC19050
NatureServe Global Rank: 
NatureServe State (NC) Rank: 
Federal Status: 
NC State Status: 
Southern Blue Ridge:  18 Southern Piedmont:  16 South Atl. Coastal Plain:  16
Land Unit

US Fish & Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
US National Park Service
US Department of Defense
NC State Parks
NC University System
NC Wildlife Res. Com.
NC Forest Service
NC Div. of Coastal Mgmt.
Local Governments
Non-Governmental Org.
Other Public Lands
Private Lands

GAP Status 1-2
All Protected Lands




% of Dist. on
Prot. Lands

0.4 %
66.6 %
1.1 %
18.5 %
4.0 %
0.2 %
5.6 %
0.6 %
0.0 %
1.3 %
1.3 %
0.2 %
0.0 %

34.1 %
% of Dist. on
All Lands

< 0.1 %
9.1 %
0.2 %
2.5 %
0.5 %
< 0.1 %
0.8 %
< 0.1 %
0.0 %
0.2 %
0.2 %
< 0.1 %
86.3 %

4.7 %
Common in the mountains, uncommon to absent in the rest of the state (Hamel 1992, Potter et al 1980).

Inhabits deciduous or mixed forests often near water and clearing or woodland edges (Kaufman 1996). Hamel (1992) states they 'prefer upland often hilly woods, as opposed to bottomlands.'

As summarized by Palmer (1988), the nest is generally located 25 to 40 ft. above the ground, 'primarily in the first main crotch of a moderate- to large-sized tree and in the bottom 1/3 of the forest canopy.' Usually it is constructed loosely of twigs, sticks, and dead leaves, lined with outer bark chips, strips of inner bark, evergreen sprigs, and green leaves (Ehrlich et al 1988, Harrison 1975). Broad-wingeds forage often from perches located along woodlands edges or near water (Kaufman 1996).


Broadleaf and mixed forest, preferring denser situations, less frequently in open woodland. Generally perches under or in tree canopy, forages at openings, edges, and wet areas (Palmer 1988). Migrates along ridges, river valleys, and shorelines. In winter, may perch and feed along heavily traveled highways. In Costa Rica, prefers open areas, forest edge, broken forest (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Regularly nests near wet areas and forest openings, edges, and woodland roads. Typically nests in crotch of moderate- to large-sized tree or on branch next to trunk, about 7-12 m above ground, in bottom 1/3 of forest canopy. May modify nest of other bird or squirrel; usually does not use same nest in 2 successive years. Presence of fresh greenery typical of completed nest (Palmer 1988).

Occupied Landcover Map Units:
Code NameDescription NC Natural Heritage Program Equivalent
63 Coastal Plain Mesic Hardwood Forests Beech dominated forests with white oak and northern red oak as possible co-dominants. Dry-mesic to mesic forests on slopes and small stream bottoms in the coastal plain. Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest, Basic Mesic Forests
138 Coastal Plain Dry to Dry-Mesic Oak Forests Oak dominated forests of the coastal plain. Includes white oak forests with water oak or northern red oak and hickories as co-dominants. Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Basic Oak Hickory Forest, Dry Oak Hickory Forest
46 Xeric Oak - Pine Forests Mixed forest dominated by yellow pines with white or northern red oaks co-dominating. Pine Oak Heath
232 Xeric Pine-Hardwood Woodlands and Forests Mixed forest dominated by yellow pines with drier oaks including southern red, post, and chestnut oaks. Dry Oak Hickory Forest
230 Piedmont Mesic Forest American Beech - Red Oak - White Oak Forests. Mesic Mixed Hardwood
384 Piedmont/Mountain Mixed Bottomland Hardwood Forests Includes temporarily to seasonally forests dominated by hardwood species. Hardwoods include sweetgum, red maple, sycamore which co-occur in a mosaic of bottomland and levee positions. Includes alluvial hardwood forests in the mountains. Hemlock and white pine may occur as inclusions, but are generally mapped separately. Piedmont/Mountain Alluvial Forest, Piedmont/Mountain Levee Forest
383 Piedmont Mixed Successional Forest Generally loblolly mixed with successional hardwoods. Sweetgum, tulip poplar and red maple are common co-dominants in these successional forests. No equivalent
228 Piedmont Dry-Mesic Oak and Hardwood Forests Primarily oak dominated forests, white oak is often dominant, with co-dominants including . Also represented by sweetgum and tulip poplar dominated forests. Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Basic Oak Hickory Forest, Dry Oak Hickory Forest
382 Dry Mesic Oak Pine Forests Mixed forests of the coastal plain and piedmont. Includes loblolly pine with white, southern red and/or post oak and loblolly with water oak. On basic sites of the piedmont, eastern red cedar may co-occur with post, black, and blackjack oaks. Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Xeric Hard Pan Forest, Chestnut Oak Forest, Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Dry Oak Hickory Forest
226 Piedmont Xeric Woodlands Generally post and blackjack oak dominated woodlands. White ash and pignut hickory can be found in combination with Eastern red cedar on glades. Xeric Hardpan Forest
51 Deciduous Cultivated Plantation Planted deciduous trees. Includes sweetgum and sycamore plantations. No equivalent
202 Residential Urban Includes vegetation interspersed in residential areas. Includes lawns, mixed species woodlots, and horticultural shrubs. Vegetation accounts for between 20 - 70% of the cover. No equivalent
522 Northern Hardwoods High Elevation forests including yellow birch, American beech, and yellow buckeye. Includes forests with Hemlock and Yellow Birch. Northern Hardwoods Forest, Boulderfield Forest
525 Appalachian Oak Forest A variety of oak forest types including Black, White, Scarlet Oaks in dry to mesic situations. Includes forests historically co-dominated by American Chestnut. High Elevation Red Oak Forest, Montane White Oak Forest
526 Appalachian Cove Forest Mixed Mesophytic forests of the mountains. Includes tuliptree, basswood, yellow buckeye and surgar maple. This class is mapped to include cove forests dominated or co-dominated by hemlock. Rich Cove Forest, Acidic Cove Forest
527 Appalachian Hemlock Upland hemlock forests of the moutains region. Vary from side slopes to steep slope positions. Canada Hemlock Forest
529 Appalachian Xeric Mixed Forest Mixed forests with Virginia, Shortleaf, Eastern White Pine, Table Mountain and Pitch pines in combination with xeric oak species. Oaks include, white, Southern Red, black, and rock chestnut. Pine Oak Heath
530 Appalachian Xeric Deciduous Forest Deciduous forests in the mountains dominated by Xeric Oak species. Species include, white, Southern red, black, and rock chestnut. High Elevation Red Oak Forest, Montane White Oak Forest
533 Appalachian Swamp Forest Evergreen and deciduous forests with saturated hydrologies. This class may contain a variety of trees species, including hemlock - red maple, pitch pine, and white pine forests. Swamp Forest-Bog Complex, Southern Appalachian Bog, Southern Appalachian Fen
View Entire Landcover Legend
Additional Spatial Constraints:
Exclude all area outside of known range.
Exclude areas of intensive human activity including moderately to highly developed landscapes.
Smith, N. G. 1980. Hawk and vulture migration in the Neotropics. Pages 51-65 in B80KEA02NAUS.

Titus, K., and M. R. Fuller. 1990. Recent trends in counts of migrant hawks from northeastern North America. Journal of Wildlife Management 54:463-470.

Bent, A.C. 1937. Life histories of North American birds of prey. Part 1. Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus. 137. 409 pp.

Hamel, P. B. 1992. The land manager's guide to the birds of the south. The Nature Conservancy, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 367 pp + several appendices.

Fisher, A.K. 1893. The hawks and owls of the United States in their relation to agriculture. Washington U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Bull. no. 6. 210 pp.

Banks, R. C. 1995. Taxonomic Validation for Bird Species on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Category 2 Species List. In Biological Survey Project, Patuxent Environmental Research Center, National Biological Service (compilers). Taxonomic Review of Cate

Kaufman K. 1996. Lives of North American Birds. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Crocoll, S. T., and J. W. Parker. 1989. The breeding biology of broad-winged and red-shouldered hawks in western New York. J. Raptor Res. 23:125-39.

Bednarz, J. C., D. Klem Jr., L. J. Goodrich, and S. E. Senner. 1990. Migration counts of raptors at Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, as indicators of population trends, 1934-1986. The Auk 107:96-109.

Balding, T., and E. Dibble. 1984. Responses of red-tailed, red-shouldered and broad-winged hawks to high volume playback recordings. Passenger Pigeon 46:71-75.

Harrison, H.H. 1975. A field guide to bird's nests in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 257 p.

Harrison, H.H. 1979. A field guide to western birds' nests. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 279 pp.

King, Warren B., compiler. 1979. Endangered birds of the world. The International Council for Bird Preservation. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. [Reprinted in handbook form in 1981.].

Keast, A., and E. S. Morton. 1980. Migrant birds in the Neotropics; ecology, distribution, and conservation. Smithsonian Inst. Press, Washington, D.C.

Potter, E. F., J. F. Parnell, and R. P. Teulings. 1980. Birds of the Carolinas. Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 408 pp.

Terres, J.K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

Wiley, J. W. 1985. Bird conservation in the United States Caribbean. Pages 107-159 in Temple, S. A., editor. Bird conservation 2. Univ. Wisconsin Press, Madison. 181 pp.

American Ornithologists' Union (AOU), Committee on Classification and Nomenclature. 1983. Check-list of North American Birds. Sixth Edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas.

Raffaele, H.A. 1983. A guide to the birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Fondo Educativo Interamericano, San Juan, Puerto Rico. 255 pp.

Fuller, M. R., and J. A. Mosher. 1987. Raptor survey techniques. Pages 37-65 in B. A. Giron Pendleton, et al., eds. Raptor management techniques manual. National Wildlife Federation, Washington, D.C.

Pendleton, B. A. Giron, et al. 1987. Raptor management techniques manual. National Wildlife Federation, Sci. and Tech. Ser. No. 10. 420 pp.

Ehrlich, P.R., D.S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook:a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

Palmer, R. S., ed. 1988. Handbook of North American birds. Vol. 5. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven. 465 pp.

Ridgely, R. S., and J. A. Gwynne, Jr. 1989. A guide to the birds of Panama with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Second edition. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, New Jersey. 534 pp.

Stiles, F.G., and A.F. Skutch. 1989. A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Comstock Publ. Associates, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York. 511 pp.

Johnsgard, P.A. 1990. Hawks, eagles, and falcons of North America. Smithsonian Inst. Press, Washington, D.C. xvi + 403 pp.

Sibley, C.G., and B.L. Monroe. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut. xxiv + 1111 pp.

Rusch, D. H., and P. D. Doerr. 1972. Broad-winged hawk nesting and food habits. Auk 89:139-145.

10 March 2005
This data was compiled and/or developed by the North Carolina GAP Analysis Project.

For more information please contact them at:
NC-GAP Analysis Project
Dept. of Zoology, NCSU
Campus Box 7617
Raleigh, NC 27695-7617
(919) 513-2853