Roadside Hawk Rupornis magnirostris

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Polytypic: 12 subspecies
  • Authors needed...


Distinguishing Characteristics

The Roadside Hawk is a little hawk with rounded short wings that have a rufus patch very evident while flying. Males are smaller than females. It is a species commonly found along roadsides. It is a wide distributed bird that can be found from northern Mexico to Argentina. It is considered as a common species but nothing is known about its population trends.

Similar Species

The Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus) has smaller tail, with rufus barred belly in adults and striped in juvenals. While flying Broad-winged Hawks extend their tail and prefer forested areas.

Juvenals of the Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) are bigger, and when seen from upside some wing coberts are rufus, bands in tail are thiner and paler and while flying they have a pale patch in external flight feathers.

Juvenals of the Cooper Hawk (Accipiter cooperi) have breast and belly whitish with marroon stripes.

Detailed Description

Description based on Howell and Webb (1995). Roadside Hawks are small birds with rounded wings with a rufus patch in inner primaries. They have long legs, slim appereance, barred belly and tail. In Mexico three subspecies can be distinguished (griseocauda, direptor and gracilis). Griseocauda has whitish eyes; cere, ocular skin and legs yellow-orange. Head and back parts are dark grey, whitish neck striped with gray-brown. Direptor has a paler plumage.

Griseocauda has motled brown breast stripèd with whitish, rufus belly barred with whitish and whitish tarsus barred with thin rufus. Direptor has the breast mottled with rufus and Gracilis has rufus tarsus.

The tail is dark brown and have between 3 and 4 pale gray bands with white tip (griseocauda). In direptor bands are more rufus.

While flying primaries are rufus being more intense in direptor form.

Juvenals have ambar to brown eyes, head and nape are marron sptriped. Breast and belly striped with gray-marron and barred with rufus (griseocauda and direptor). Juvenals of gracilis have more whitish face with a dark line over the eye. Belly whitish, breast striped dark brown, belly and legs lightly mottled with dark brown. Juvenals get the adult plumage at the end of the first year.


Nothing is known about molt. Juvenals get their adult feathers at the end of the first year.

Bare Parts

Cere, eyes and tarsus yellow-orange


Length: 33-41 cm


Male 251 g

Female 303 g

Recommended Citation

Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: