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Another Red-tailed Hawk sub-species question.


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38 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

#1 Red-tailed Hawk is a different bird from #2 / 3.  Check the spots on the wings, esp. the crescents at the bases of the 'fingers'.

They were about two minutes apart, both heading south, and I was pretty sure the first bird hadn't circled back.

I noticed the more distinct streaking or "dribbling" between the head and belly band on the first bird.

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I've never seen abieticola that I know of, but 1 looks like a classic example, from what I understand, with the mostly dark throat, heavy "dribbling" from there to the blobby breastband, and unbarred tail (though according to this article by Jerry Liguori, abieticola sometimes has a barred tail).  2 shares some of that, especially the throat, but seems much less heavily marked, so I wouldn't be sure about that one.

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Thanks everyone. I checked and there are surprisingly few abieticola reports for my local counties but I'm fairly sure they are not uncommon, someone in another thread mentioned 1 in 5 for NE USA and I suspect that is conservative for southern Ontario.

I think Bird 2 is also one, the "dribbling" is there but not so apparent, possibly due to the harsh lighting. However I do see quite a few with the dark throat but no obvious "dribbling", so possibly intergrade sub-species?

Thanks @Jerry Friedman for the link here and in the other thread.

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#1 I would call abieticola without hesitation.  #2 I would avoid calling it one, as the juvenile borealis (light eyes) tend to have bigger/darker spots at first.  It could very well be one though as it has some of the buffy color on the underwing coverts, and darker patagials.  Juvenile borealis seem to have that also, so I personally would just call it a RTHA.  

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23 minutes ago, Greenesnake said:

Definitely a Northern RTHA (abieticola) on bird #1. Bird #2 looks fine for a young adult borealis, likely a breeder from the northern part of their range.

Thanks Greenesnake, much appreciated. I was pretty sure about Bird 1 although it has not been accepted by the reviewer yet, they may just be behind.

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Update. Not accepted by the reviewer, but not sure why as our local reviewers don't provide feedback for the most part.

I checked out some of the other local postings, not that many, and one (albeit by an experienced birder) had no photo and a single comment "not uncommon". Sometimes less is more.

Oh well, I will keep looking for more.

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2 hours ago, RobinHood said:

Update. Not accepted by the reviewer, but not sure why as our local reviewers don't provide feedback for the most part.

I checked out some of the other local postings, not that many, and one (albeit by an experienced birder) had no photo and a single comment "not uncommon". Sometimes less is more.

Oh well, I will keep looking for more.

Try emailing your reviewer asking why they didn't accept it, as well as explaining your/our reasoning for the ID you made.

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