The other day I saw what I could have sworn was a Golden Eagle, perched on a pipeline, looking super regal, only to be told it was a hawk. "No way" I said, "that thing is HUGE!" I was told hawks are big too... "ok, so what is the biggest hawk"... silence. Enter Daily Doodle question #272.
The Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) is the largest hawk in North America, with the females being slightly larger than the males. This large bird of prey reaches 22.1 - 27.2 inches with an average length of 23 inches, with a 52.4 - 55.9 inch wingspan, and weighs between 2 - 4.5 with an average around 3.5 lbs. Found primarily in the American Southwest, in the summer it can be found as far north as Alberta, Canada, and in winter, it can move down into Southern Mexico. The Ferruginous Hawk has two different plumage morphs, the most common has a unique gray head, rich, rusty (ferruginous means rust-colored) shoulders and legs, and gleaming white underparts. A rarer dark-morph is reddish-chocolate in color all over.
While this HUGE dark bird could have MAYBE been a Ferruginous Hawk, my money is still on a Golden Eagle.