Ferruginous Hawk Stalks Its Prey on Open Land
Flying regally over the Prado Basin and Mystic Lake/San Jacinto Wildlife Area, the Ferruginous Hawk is the largest North American hawk species and RCA’s March Species of the Month. It is one of 45 bird species designated by the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP).
The Ferruginous Hawk, also known as Buteo regalis, forages within agriculture, grasslands, marsh, and other types of lands in the MSHCP. Its “Ferruginous” name relates to its iron oxide or rust coloring. This is a stealthy hawk that hovers over open land and glides to intercept ground prey. Its primary diet is small to medium sized mammals, such as hares, rabbits, ground squirrels, and gophers.
The Ferruginous Hawk’s conservation will be achieved by preserving at least 144,120 acres of suitable foraging habitat. Protecting this species is vital to the ecosystem conserved by the MSHCP. The MSHCP supports the Ferruginous Hawk’s survival by preserving foraging habitat it uses during migration to and from its nesting grounds (outside the MSHCP area) as well as for some birds that overwinter in the MSHCP area. Continued threats include habitat destruction and fragmentation.