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Immature Harlan's RTHA?


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Harlan's do have color morphs, from very dark to as pale as Krider's.  I'm not sure about this bird.  The all-over speckling of the underparts does look like Harlan's to me, but the colors are rather warm, the flight-feather banding is quite neat, and the throat is mostly dark, which favor Western.  I can't tell about the tips of the tail feathers--do they have pale inner webs?  Anyway, I can't call this, but an expert might be able to.

By the way, where are the patagial marks?

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1 hour ago, Jerry Friedman said:

Harlan's do have color morphs, from very dark to as pale as Krider's.  I'm not sure about this bird.  The all-over speckling of the underparts does look like Harlan's to me, but the colors are rather warm, the flight-feather banding is quite neat, and the throat is mostly dark, which favor Western.  I can't tell about the tips of the tail feathers--do they have pale inner webs?  Anyway, I can't call this, but an expert might be able to.

By the way, where are the patagial marks?

I agree with your assessment, I would call this bird an intermediate morph immature RTHA (calarus/alascensis)

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This is likely (but can't be confirmed) the same bird, but photographed earlier in the day under less than favorable light.  Does this angle provide  any more helpful ID features?  Are we leaning towards it probably being a light/intermediate morph Harlan's RTHA?  The warm tones are likely a result of my over-processing an under-exposed pic and/or overcompensated camera settings I tend to use when photographing dark birds.  The 2nd image is the unedited original version.

DSC04691a.jpg

DSC06083.JPG

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This is a really tough bird. It should be noted that Liguori states "Juvenile intermediate and dark morph Harlan’s are extremely difficult to distinguish from Western Red-taileds in flight."

There are elements of this bird that seems appropriate for harlani, but the overall warmth of this bird is noticeable, and the mottling seems buff versus pure white. The flight feathers are not as heavily banded black and white as they should be for harlani, and the flight feathers when viewed dorsally are brown and contrastingly lighter than the secondaries, which is a feature supporting calurus/alascensis. The upperwing coverts are really warm. I think it's a Western.

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I'm certainly no expert, otherwise I probably wouldn't be posting ID questions here.  That being said, I agree with all of your points.  My follow-up question is, isn't this outside of a Western RTHA's range?

Also, given the points you offered, would the adult bird I posted today titled "Another Red-tailed Hawk (of some sort)" likely also be a Western RTHA?

  

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10 minutes ago, DLecy said:

I don't know your exact location, but not necessarily.

1686390373_Screenshot2023-01-14at11_16_06AM.thumb.png.396d968960ce9e3782a1f3ec551bf5f9.png

 

 

Though it seems a lot of those don't have documentation, which on the one hand means they're not considered rare, but on the other makes you wonder whether all the IDs are right.  Makes me wonder, that is.

I feel 99% sure the photos are of the same bird.  How often do you see a Red-tail there with a dark throat outlined in off-white and a dark but mottled breast?  Anyway, I think there would be some interest at the Red-tailed Hawks of the United States group on Facebook (I don't remember whether you're on there, but I could post these pictures with your permission if not).  I mean, what is up with the patagial marks?  Is this a very light dark morph, since some people say the definition of the dark morph is that the patagial marks contrast little or not at all?

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The images were taken at Loess Bluffs NWR.  Although not annotated on map provided, its in the upper left.  You certainly have my permission to post to whatever group you'd like--I'm not on Facebook.  I seem to post a lot of the tough Red-tailed Hawks.  Don't know if there's a way to search, but there's a bunch of my RTHA posts on here that never got definitive answers.

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5 hours ago, smittyone@cox.net said:

The images were taken at Loess Bluffs NWR.  Although not annotated on map provided, its in the upper left.  You certainly have my permission to post to whatever group you'd like--I'm not on Facebook.  I seem to post a lot of the tough Red-tailed Hawks.  Don't know if there's a way to search, but there's a bunch of my RTHA posts on here that never got definitive answers.

Thanks.  Seeing tough Red-tails is what you get for living in the middle of the country. 🙂

Mike Borlé replied on Facebook:

"It's a gorgeous juvenile intermediate-morph Harlan's with the white streaking and speckling on the body plumage and wing linings, outer primaries banded to the tips, thick flight feather and tail banding, and pale inner webs on the tips of the tail feathers. There is a cohort of juvenile, and adult Harlan's for that matter that are warm toned like this bird so that shouldn't talk us out of the ID. Especially with all of the other check marks in the Harlan's column. ID points in favor of juvenile are the rufous-brownish banded tail, light amber eye, and lack of a thick, dark trailing edge on the wings. The patagial bars are light indeed of any Red-tail this heavily marked, it happens on some intermediate juveniles, particularly Harlan's. But they are there and just obscured by the rest of the markings on the wing linings. It's a great looking young Red-tail, thanks for sharing."

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19 minutes ago, Jerry Friedman said:

Thanks.  Seeing tough Red-tails is what you get for living in the middle of the country. 🙂

Mike Borlé replied on Facebook:

"It's a gorgeous juvenile intermediate-morph Harlan's with the white streaking and speckling on the body plumage and wing linings, outer primaries banded to the tips, thick flight feather and tail banding, and pale inner webs on the tips of the tail feathers. There is a cohort of juvenile, and adult Harlan's for that matter that are warm toned like this bird so that shouldn't talk us out of the ID. Especially with all of the other check marks in the Harlan's column. ID points in favor of juvenile are the rufous-brownish banded tail, light amber eye, and lack of a thick, dark trailing edge on the wings. The patagial bars are light indeed of any Red-tail this heavily marked, it happens on some intermediate juveniles, particularly Harlan's. But they are there and just obscured by the rest of the markings on the wing linings. It's a great looking young Red-tail, thanks for sharing."

Nice. Thanks! I appreciate how he states that the warm tones shouldn't talk us out of the ID. There were a number of features consistent with harlani, but I really couldn't get past the warm tones of the bird.

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Mike had added another comment and marked up part of one of @smittyone@cox.net's photos.

"Here's a look at the ultra-thick tail banding and I've highlighted the pale inner webs I mentioned, on the tips of the tail feathers. Some of the tail feathers are folded a bit too much as the bird maneuvers to see the pale web. Hopefully this helps some members a bit less familiar with Harlan's Red-tails."

 

May be an image of bird

Edited by Jerry Friedman
""
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Mike also asked me for the link to this thread, and he addressed the question of whether northwestern Missouri was in range for Western Red-tails.

"You are welcome to use my comments any time. I read through the post and it seems you have some keen Red-tail observers there. One thing I would like to point out is that the vast majority, perhaps all of the western subspecies observations on the map shared in the post will inevitably be mis-ID'd northerns. I'm not sure if the local reviewers are on board but that's how it's playing out in much of the Great Plains and points east of there."

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