Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus)


French: Buse pattue German: Raufußbussard Spanish: Busardo calzado
Other common names: Rough-legged Hawk

Falco Lagopus


, 1763,

no locality = Denmark


Formerly placed, together with B. regalis, in now obsolete genus Triorchis or Archibuteo. Has hybridized with B. buteo in Norway#R and Finland#R. Variation clinal in Palearctic, with broad zones of intergradation between races; menzbieri sometimes merged into kamtschatkensis. Four subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. l. lagopus (Pontoppidan, 1763) – N Eurasia from Scandinavia E to area of R Ob and R Yenisey; winters mainly in C Europe E to C Asia.
  • B. l. menzbieri Dementiev, 1951 – NE Asia E of R Ob and R Yenisey; winters from C Asia E to China and Japan.
  • B. l. kamtschatkensis Dementiev, 1931 – shores of Sea of Okhotsk, Kamchatka and Kuril Is; presumably winters in SE Russia, NE & E China and Japan.
  • B. l. sanctijohannis (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – Alaska and N Canada; winters S Canada and most of USA.
  • Descriptive notes

    45–63 cm; male 600–1377 g, female 783–1660 g; wingspan 120–153 cm. Plumage highly variable, from mostly dark to rather pale, with dark carpal patches... read more


    Mostly silent away from breeding grounds. Alarm call near nest a loud, mewing squeal “... read more


    Essentially found in tundra, mainly treeless, although also wooded tundra and even extreme N taiga... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small mammals normally make up 80% or more of prey; mainly voles and lemmings in breeding range, and also many voles in winter quarters; of... read more


    Usually lays from May–Jun, occasionally in late Apr or early Jul. Nests at vantage points, normally high on cliffs, rocky outcrops or... read more


    Migratory, with breeding range and winter quarters usually quite separate. Date, duration and... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Widespread and fairly common in boreal regions of Holarctic, where neither species nor habitat are subject to excessive... read more

    Recommended citation

    Orta, J., Boesman, P., Garcia, E.F.J. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).