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Confusion over this hawk


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I pulled this off my NextDoor feed, shot recently in the SF Bay Area. So far, this bird has been identified as a brown eagle (yes, you read that right ), adolescent golden eagle, Swainson’s hawk, juvenile female red-tailed hawk, peregrine falcon and Cooper’s hawk. The person who appears to be most knowledgeable is saying juvenile female red-tailed hawk. Your thoughts, please.

 

D0ADB668-456A-4847-9B38-1EC7AE897D60.jpeg

Edited by Mark F
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7 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

I'd like to know how you eliminated Brown Eagle :classic_biggrin:

 

6 minutes ago, Quiscalus quiscula said:

But Brown Eagle doesn't exist! There is only Brown Snake-Eagle.

How do we know we don't have a Snake eagle friend from over there in Africa.... 🤨 🤣

Edited by Nivalis
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2 minutes ago, Quiscalus quiscula said:

Wow that looks INTERESTING. I know this would be rare and I don't have experience with western birds, but with that bill and pale iris, I'm almost thinking dark morph Ferruginous Hawk.

Interesting proposal, pale iris is a fair point, a Ferruginous would be quite the find. definitely not sure...

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6 hours ago, The Bird Nuts said:

It has vertical streaks on the upper breast, a barred belly band, and possibly a dark patagial bar in the second photo.  I don't see why this isn't a Red-tailed.  Wonder what @Greenesnake has to say.

I think the contrast between the solid gray head and the light brown (rufous?) barring on the belly and legs would be very strange for a Red-tail.  Usually they have brown heads, or solid black on the darkest of dark morphs, and black or dark brown belly bands.  On the other hand Swainson's can have that look.

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/swainsons-hawk

This juvenile bird differs from those adults because it has a dark throat, less white next to the bill, and typical juvenile Swainson's breast plumage, buff with dark streaks.  The pale-edged, not mottled, wing and back feathers look good for Swainson's to me too.

Wish we could see the wingtips and tail.

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1 hour ago, PaulK said:

On the far right of the first photo there's a little slice of what could be a red tail, that seems to be behind the leaves and is a reddish colour rather than the brownish leaves. Not sure if this is diagnostic for dark morph red tails.Screenshot_20211029-190046.thumb.png.71d314c9a53e7813ba62cde196a926ca.png

 

I can't tell whether that's the tail or not.  Rufous on the tail would mean Red-tailed, because the only other buteo that can have that is Ferruginous, and I'm sure this isn't a ferruge.

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9 hours ago, Jerry Friedman said:

I think the contrast between the solid gray head and the light brown (rufous?) barring on the belly and legs would be very strange for a Red-tail.  Usually they have brown heads, or solid black on the darkest of dark morphs, and black or dark brown belly bands.  On the other hand Swainson's can have that look.

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/swainsons-hawk

This juvenile bird differs from those adults because it has a dark throat, less white next to the bill, and typical juvenile Swainson's breast plumage, buff with dark streaks.  The pale-edged, not mottled, wing and back feathers look good for Swainson's to me too.

Wish we could see the wingtips and tail.

The head is dark brown, the same color as the back.  I agree that it is strange there is little mottling on the wings and back.  But the relatively narrow streaking on the upper breast combined with the barring on the belly doesn't seem right for a Swainson's and fits an older Red-tailed.

Definitely a strange bird...perhaps even a....hybrid. 😶

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23 minutes ago, The Bird Nuts said:

The head is dark brown, the same color as the back.  I agree that it is strange there is little mottling on the wings and back.  But the relatively narrow streaking on the upper breast combined with the barring on the belly doesn't seem right for a Swainson's and fits an older Red-tailed.

Definitely a strange bird...perhaps even a....hybrid. 😶

I'll take your word for the color of the head, but my point is that Red-tails seldom if ever have a belly band that's a lighter and warmer color than the head.  Anyway, I'm happy to wait for further input.  Or if the photographer doesn't mind, I could ask the raptor specialists on Facebook.

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