Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
Art and Photo Presentation

In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)

Ferruginous Hawk
(Artwork - 140)
Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)

The Ferruginous Hawk is endemic to the prairies, foothills, plateaus and deserts of western North America, from southern Canada south to the southern U.S., migrating south well into Mexico. Like so many other members of the genus, Buteo, it is highly variable in appearance, and has two distinct colour morphs, a light one, which I have shown in this painting, and a dark one, with lots of variation in both.

When I was a kid it was known as a Ferruginous Rough-legged Hawk, closely-related to the Rough-legged Hawk (B. lagopus) with which I was very familiar, as it commonly is found in winter in my home region of southern Ontario, and in fact has a huge range across the northern hemisphere. The "rough-legged" part of the name was subsequently dropped from B. regalis. The term refers to a characteristic both species share, a feathered "leg", which, technically, is the foot…the part of the lower limb that extends between the toes and the ankle, called the tarsus. In most hawks it is unfeathered.

"Ferruginous" derives from the Latin, ferrum, meaning iron, and refers to the rust colour oxidation gives to iron. There is a considerable amount of rust colouring in the light morph Ferruginous Hawk, which contrasts in what I think is an attractive manner with quite of bit of grey colouring. The species name, "regalis", is Latin for royal hawk, derived from the bird's most noble appearance. "Buteo" also comes from Latin and refers to hawks.

In the English-speaking world outside of North America, these hawks are called "buzzards", thus B. lagopus is the Rough-legged Buzzard in the U.K., for example, but confusingly the term "buzzard" in North America has been colloquially mis-applied to our native vultures, and is not infrequently a term of contempt because vultures eat carrion (as do most humans, of course, cooking it and calling it meat). Buteos, a collective noun used by birders in North America, are all characterized by having broad, rounded wings, rounded tails, and by the fact that they easily soar on air thermals. When soaring, wing tips of the Ferruginous Hawk are slightly above the horizontal, although usually not to the degree found in Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura).

A female (larger than males) can tip the scales at about four pounds but most birds are around two and a half to three pounds, making this the largest, on average, of the continent's native Buteos. They regularly prey on ground squirrels ("gophers") and prairie dogs, voles and other terrestrial rodents, plus jackrabbits, some reptiles and birds, as well as large insects such as locusts (aka grasshoppers).

This painting is approximately life-size, of a light-morph bird, and is done in acrylics on compressed hardboard. Size: 30 X 24”.

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Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
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