Jump to content
Whatbird Community


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by smittyone@cox.net

  1. This is likely (but can't be confirmed) the same bird, but photographed earlier in the day under less than favorable light.  Does this angle provide  any more helpful ID features?  Are we leaning towards it probably being a light/intermediate morph Harlan's RTHA?  The warm tones are likely a result of my over-processing an under-exposed pic and/or overcompensated camera settings I tend to use when photographing dark birds.  The 2nd image is the unedited original version.



    • Like 1
  2. Not an identification question.  More of a "correct" reporting question.  When looking to see if there was a separate 4 letter Alpha code for Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk, I discovered HRLH for Harlan's Hawk.  Didn't know they'd been officially separated from RTHAs.  Up till now, I've been calling them Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk (RTHA).  Should i start calling them Harlan's Hawk (HRLH) from now on?  I know Eastern, Western, RTHAs etc. don't have their own distinct Alpha codes.  Why wouldn't Krider's Red-tailed Hawk have their own Alpha code? 

  3. Seen yesterday in NE Missouri.  I'm about 90% certain this is an immature Harlan's RTHA.  There are also dark morph Rough-legged Hawks at this location, and I often confuse the two.  When perched, it's difficult to tell if the legs are feather covered, or just "hidden" by feathers, if that makes sense.  It's breast also doesn't seem as speckled as I'd expect on a Harlan's.  But, I think the tail banding is the clincher in this case. Unfortunately, I only have perched shots.

    Interestingly, I found it's behavior unusual, in that it wasn't at all skittish as most buteos I've encountered.  I watched it preen for at least 5 minutes at relatively close range.  I've never watched a buteo preen before.



    • Like 1
  4. 12 hours ago, Jerry Friedman said:

    I'll just add that it is a dark-morph Red-tailed Hawk--a dark morph of the Harlan's subspecies, not a dark morph of the Western (or Northern) subspecies.

    I'm not smart enough to argue whether a Harlan's is a sub-species of Red-tailed Hawk, or just a color morph.  All I know is that a dark-morph RTHA and a Harlan's RTHA look different from each other.  Your statement above, confuses me though.  Perhaps it's just the way it's worded.  Are you agreeing that this is a Harlan's RTHA, and at the same time, implying that Harlan's are just a "different" dark morph RTHA than a typical dark-morph RTHA?  I'm not trying to be argumentative--I genuinely don't understand what you are saying above. 

  5. Seen today at Loess Bluffs NWR, in NW Missouri.  The light streaking on this immature buteo's  body, and splotchy markings on the wings, suggest to me that this is a Harlan's RTHA.  But, I understand the leg feathers on a Harlan's extend farther down the leg (not RLHA length), than on Red-tailed Hawks.  I see a lot of leg showing on this bird.  I also think I see just a hint of dark trailing edge on the wing feathers, but this is a young bird, so...

    I've brought up the "Dark morph RTH vs Harlan's" here before, yet I still struggle with it.  Am I concentrating on the little details and missing something obvious?



  6. There are three very dark brown buteos consistently seen at Loess Bluffs NWR in NW Missouri lately.  I've submitted two of them here for identification--both were ID'd as dark morph Harlan's RTHA.  This is the third dark buteo, seen yesterday.  Based on the lack of, what I call "white splotches or polka dots", I believe this bird is an immature dark morph Red-tailed Hawk, and not a Harlan's RTHA.  Am I  correct?  I have plenty of shots from every angle, if additional pics are needed.   




    • Like 1
  7. Spotted this (taiga) Merlin yesterday afternoon in NW Missouri.  Despite the blue sky background, the sun had gone behind a cloud resulting in underexposed pics.  Even after brightening up in post processing, I'm not certain if the upper wing and tail feathers are slate gray or dark brown.  Are those the only distinguishing features between a male and female Taiga Merlin?





    • Like 5
  8. The Bald Eagle link you provided is the best I've seen so far.  Thank you very much Meghann.  

    As a follow-up question, has anyone ever referred to young Bald Eagles as sub-adults?  I don't think it's an officially recognized term, but I've used it on occasion, to describe immature Bald Eagles that show most of the visible features of an adult.  I reserve it's use to 3 1/2+ year old birds with mostly white head and tail feathers.

  9. Someone already explained this to me a while back, but unfortunately it didn't stick (I forgot).  I would call this an immature Bald Eagle, but have seen it also called a juvenile.  I'm guilty of this myself.  Both terms seem to be used interchangeably, but I know one is technically correct.  Can someone please explain, in simple terms, what the difference is, which one would be (more) correct for this young eagle, and why?  Maybe provide a couple of examples, so maybe the info will stick this time.  Although this is still kind of an ID question, moderators, please move this post to a different section, if appropriate.


  • Create New...