Nature Canada

5 Locations in Canada to Spot a Ferruginous Hawk

Image of Evan Dudley

Evan Dudley, Guest Blogger

Canada is home to a number of beautiful and exotic birds and one of the most exciting birds of prey to witness in Canada is the Ferruginous Hawk. Spotting this bird is a real treat, however, due to Canada only holding 10% of the world’s breeding distribution of the Ferruginous Hawk and it listed as threatened, it can be very difficult to find. To ensure you can see one of these beautiful hawks up close, we want to give you a leg up on your search by going through a quick profile breakdown and outlining five places in Canada that the Ferruginous Hawk calls home. If you are lucky enough to stumble across the Ferruginous Hawk please share your story and photos!

The Profile:

Identification: A large, broad winged hawk with a pale-beige to white underbelly and a dark-rust coloured back and wings. This hawk occurs in two distinct light and dark colour morphs. It has a wingspan that can reach 1.5 meters and weighs anywhere between 0.97 and 2.1 kgs.

Image of a Ferruginous Hawk

Photo of a Ferruginous Hawk

Call: When it is alarmed, adults give a scratchy scream resembling that of a Herring Gull’s call.

Habitat: The hawk prefers an open, grassland type of hunting ground.  It tends to stick around open countrysides and is a native grassland bird of shrubland, desert and sagebrush steppes on the Great Plains. In Canada, you can see this bird on the prairies of southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and south-western Manitoba where it breeds during the late spring and early summer.

Behaviour: The Ferruginous Hawk hunts during the day. Adults perch and hunt from the ground, waiting by the preys hole or den to snatch it when it pops out.

Diet: Due to its size and power, its diet mainly depends on what is available in its hunting grounds. Although this bird usually focuses its attention on small grassland rodents, it is able to hunt small to medium-sized mammals, smaller bird species, snakes and larger insects.

5 Places To See This Bird:

  1. The species is concentrated in the southwestern part of Manitoba and you can spot the bird in the towns of Lenore, Brandon and Glenboro.
  2. As well, in Manitoba you can spot non-breeding adults north of St. Lazare and east to Oak Hammock Marsh.
  3. Grasslands National Park is home to a variety of prairie species which include the Ferruginous Hawk.
  4. Suffield National Wildlife Area is home to more than 1,100 known species and is a spot where you can find the Ferruginous Hawk.
  5. Govenlock Community Pasture is another place to find the Ferruginous Hawk, and it is also a place we are pushing for greater protection!

These are just a few of the spots that you can find the Ferruginous Hawk in Canada. Another way to see where this hawk is located is by checking out e-Bird! e-Bird gives you an interactive map where you can see the locations of sightings of the Ferruginous Hawk. And if you would like to learn more facts about this threatened species, click here.


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