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View Diary: Problems with trying to identify subspecies of Red Tailed Hawks (105 comments)

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  •  Sure looks like a Redtail to me. What did the (3+ / 0-)

    other ranger say it was? Great pic!

    Just give me some truth. John Lennon--- OWS------Too Big To Fail

    by burnt out on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:44:27 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  She showed us the book and convinced us that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burnt out, Polly Syllabic, ladybug53

      it was a migrating light  morph Swainson's

      wikipedia

      Swainson's Hawk is a raptor and a medium-sized member of the Buteo genus.It broadly overlaps in size with the Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis), a related species found as a breeding resident almost throughout North America. Swainson's Hawk is on average a little shorter in length, 43–56 cm (17–22 in) long, and weighs a bit less, 0.5–1.7 kg (1.1–3.7 lb).[3][4][5] However, Swainson's Hawk has a slightly longer wingspan at 117–137 cm (46–54 in), with more slender, elongated wings, than the Red-tailed Hawk.[3

      SNIP

      There are two main color variations. Over 90% of individuals are light-morph; the dark morph is most common in the far west of the range:[7]

          Light-morph adults are white on the underparts with a dark, reddish "bib" on the chest and a noticeable white throat and face patch. The underwings, seen as the bird soars, have light linings (leading edge) and dark flight feathers (trailing edge), a pattern unique among North American raptors. The tail is gray-brown with about six narrow dark bands and one wider subterminal band. The upperparts are brown. Juveniles are similar but dark areas have pale mottling and light areas, especially the flanks, have dark mottling. The chest is pale with some darker marks. The subterminal band of the tail is less obvious. Birds in their first spring may have pale heads because of feather wear.
          Dark-morph birds are dark brown except for a light patch under the tail. There is a rufous variant that is lighter on the underparts with reddish bars. The tails of both these forms resemble those of the light morph.

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      by divineorder on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:28:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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