Jump to content
Whatbird Community

Zone Tailed Hawk or Common Blackhawk


Recommended Posts

Have seen this bird two days in a row.  My first thought was a Common Blackhawk but after seeing it today and wings that are similar to the Turkey Vulture, I am wondering if it is the Zone Tailed Hawk.  Saw yesterday and today  - 4/9 and 4/10 - in Payson AZ.  Sorry - the pictures are not the greatest.  Please advise.  Thanks so much.  

6 (2).JPG

6 (3).JPG

6 (4).JPG

6 (1).JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Seanbirds said:

Or a short enough tail.

Or broad-enough tail. Or, particularly, broad-enough black trailing edges to wings. The primaries and secondaries of Zone-tailed Hawk adults are mostly pale, with thin dark bars and and a medium-width black trailing edge. Common Black Hawk has primaries and secondaries that have an overall darker ground color, wider dark tips that create the black trailing edges to the wings, and wider dark bars. Note also that your bird's outermost primary (the 10th, or p10) on each wing is MUCH shorter than the next primary in (the p9). The outermost primary (p10) on each wing of adult Common Black Hawks ranges from somewhat shorter than the corresponding p9 (as here) or nearly the same length as the corresponding p9 (as here). Additionally, note that your Zone-tailed Hawk (and this one) has only the outer five primaries longer than the rest of the flight feathers, whereas Common Black Hawk has six. These two features combine to form very different wing-tip shapes between the two species.

As a side note, finding the photos to illustrate my points has presented an interesting bit of info. The first-linked photo of Common Black Hawk is from Belize, where the species is a permanent resident, while the second is from Utah, where the species is a summer resident only. In other words, those Utah breeders migrate out of the state --- and the country (there are VERY few that winter in the US). Given the importance of wing shape for migrant birds versus non-migrants of the same species, the Utah bird's different wing-tip shape might be due to that difference in residence strategy. Or it could simply be individual variation.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...