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Otto, Rough-legged Hawk
Updated 5/29/2014 9:45:18 AM 

Otto, the Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus

Rough-legged Hawks are part of the Accipitridae family in the order Falconiformes. Click here to learn more...

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Would you like to help provide Otto with a lifetime of quality care? He is currently available for adoption under our "Apopt a Raptor" program.



Otto Otto, the Rough-legged hawk has been with the Raptors of the Rockies since the winter of 1997 and is a great program bird. This youngster was found in the Flathead Valley after being hit by a car, with a broken wrist healed and stiff joint: not able to be released.

Rough-legged hawks nest in the far north tundra of Canada and Alaska, and the whole population migrates south to the United States over the winter. These hawks are seen in open country, perched on utility poles and often the skinny outer limbs and twigs of trees where they scan the fields for their prey of mice and voles. Hundreds of these birds may spend the winter in communal nighttime roosts, foraging singly to hunt during the day. Here in western Montana Rough-legs can be told from resident Red-tails in flight by the white at the base of the tail and large black "thumb prints" on the underside of the wing.

Otto lives in an large outdoor enclosure with his roommate is Evita, the dark morph Swainson's Hawk, and the two roost side by side. He has been an excellent model for our many demonstrations on Birds And Art, including a four day kid's workshop at the Missoula Art Museum every year. And he is quite vocal in our appearances on Montana Public Radio children's programming - yes, we do bring live birds. Otto is named after a good friend of my Dadís that was visiting when he joined us at the old Raptor ranch, "Otto" Miller, not "Auto" as some of the kids think.

  • Date Acquired: 5/20/1997
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Photos by Kate Davis unless otherwise indicated.
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