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Red-tailed Hawk subspecies - light abieticola? - SW MI 10/24


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As luck would have it had this interesting bird this afternoon.  If this is an abieticola it is on the extremely light end for the belly-band.  I've seen borealis with blobbier belly-bands.  I think this may not be an adult bird yet, as it looks like tail feathers are mixed banded/un-banded.  White throat is a good marker for abieticola.  

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2400?__hstc=264660688.212813b11db6c308ac

2400?__hstc=264660688.212813b11db6c308ac

2400?__hstc=264660688.212813b11db6c308ac

2400?__hstc=264660688.212813b11db6c308ac

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I'm not sure about the white throat.  An article at the Hawkwatch International site says, "Note the Eastern-like appearance of these birds but with heavy bellybands, darker throats, rufous-tinted undersides, and sometimes banded tails."

As you say, this bird is less heavily marked than Northern is supposed to be, and I certainly couldn't identify the subspecies.  However, the banded tail feather looks rufous to me, and the eyes are dark, so I'm wondering whether it's an adult.  And it could always be an intergrade.

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This bird has a red tail and dark eyes so it's certainly an adult bird. I would lean slightly towards a heavily marked borealis for this particular bird. I find that *most* abieticola have dark or mostly dark throats. However, the patagials are very thick on this bird; thicker than seen on the majority of borealis. I personally would probably leave this as simply Red-tailed Hawk, subspecies unknown.

Edited by Greenesnake
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7 hours ago, Greenesnake said:

This bird has a red tail and dark eyes so it's certainly an adult bird. I would lean slightly towards a heavily marked borealis for this particular bird. I find that *most* abieticola have dark or mostly dark throats. However, the patagials are very thick on this bird; thicker than seen on the majority of borealis. I personally would probably leave this as simply Red-tailed Hawk, subspecies unknown.

I mis-stated in regards to whether bird was adult.  Was looking at Ligouri and Sullivan's paper on Northerns and the references to 2nd and 3rd year birds.  This bird look like it might be losing some of the banded tail feathers the younger birds would have.  

 

The biggest thing for me is all that darkness running down the throat.  I think with an empty crop that would majority dark on its chest.  Never seen a borealis have that before.  I think Adam Byrne is doing the reviews for my county right now, so I'm sure he'll give me some feedback on it also.  

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