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A hawk flew low over my backyard.  It was black all over except for the tips of its tail feathers which were white or possibly light gray.  This bird was definitely a hawk and not a vulture.  What could it be?

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I see Turkey Vultures daily. Yes, I could see the facial markings quite clearly.  The bird I saw did not fly like a vulture.  It flew like a hawk.  It had broad wings.  I saw it at a distance of no more than fifty feet and at eye level from my upper deck.   I saw the bird side on rather than from underneath.  I think the most likely culprit is a Zone-tailed Hawk.  

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I have been searching and viewing images of hawks on various websites.  I believe my sighting was of a Zone-tailed Hawk.  Doesn't the ZT have a yellow beak?  I have photographed ZTs from my backyard.  From my balcony I had a view of this bird as it swiftly flew across the yard.  I had a view of the side and top of the bird but no view of the underside of its wings.  It did not flap the way a vulture does.  It had an elegant gliding motion.  

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An all-black hawk in Central Texas in Mid-April, seems likely to be Zone-tailed. They do have a yellow cere. Adults have several obvious white bands on the tail, so perhaps it wasn’t an adult?

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Today I sighted three hawks circling at altitude above my backyard.  This bird was the closest in proximity but far more distant than the one I described.  What species do you think?  It was heavily overcast so I had to juice up the images to provide greater detail.

Hawk Hawk Hawk

 

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