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Which hawk is this?


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Taken this morning (March 30, 2023) around 7:30.  I was at Sea Rim State Park (Texas) which is basically Port Arthur, Texas.  He was (obviously) sitting on a telephone pole by the road.

My guess is it is a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk but the whiteish face gives me doubt.

I don't know what's wrong with its back feathers.  It was on the coast so it was pretty windy and I'm guessing that is what caused his back feathers to be so out of place.

Also, if you would be so kind: explain to me what particular features helped you to identify the bird.

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Edited by pedz
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I agree with your ID. Young Broad-winged Hawk. Markers are pale underparts with tear-shaped brown spots-- short, yellow feet--upper parts brown with white flecking--indistinct mustache--wingtips just short of the tail tip. I could be full of malarkey, so wait for an expert.

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1 hour ago, Avery said:

Red-tailed for me. The bird has thin tail bands and no pale bands on the secondaries

Also the first picture at http://www.utahbirds.org/featarts/2006/BroadWingedHawk.htm has very thin tail bands, though I admit the subterminal band of that one is a bit thicker than the others, which I don't see in @pedz's bird.

Edited by Jerry Friedman
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4 hours ago, DLecy said:

This is definitely a Red-tailed Hawk due to the tail bands, wing to tail length ratio while perched, belly band, beak/head structure, and so on.

So just a Red-tail that didn't happen to get a patagial mark, at least on the right wing?  Also, if you don't mind, what in the beak/head structure makes it a Red-tail?  And in view of the link I posted above, what in the tail bands--the lack of a thicker band at the tip?

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28 minutes ago, Jerry Friedman said:

So just a Red-tail that didn't happen to get a patagial mark, at least on the right wing?  Also, if you don't mind, what in the beak/head structure makes it a Red-tail?  And in view of the link I posted above, what in the tail bands--the lack of a thicker band at the tip?

I do see the edge of the patagial in the first photo, the rest of the mark is hidden by the body. 

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3 hours ago, Jerry Friedman said:

So just a Red-tail that didn't happen to get a patagial mark, at least on the right wing?  Also, if you don't mind, what in the beak/head structure makes it a Red-tail?  And in view of the link I posted above, what in the tail bands--the lack of a thicker band at the tip?

I believe it does have a patagial mark on the right wing. I can see one when I zoom in.

As for the tail, it lacks a thick and defined terminal/subterminal band. The tail bands are also much more thin than I have ever seen on a BWHA before, including those in your link, and match quite well with RTHA.

Facial structure is a little more hard for me to explain. I do think the eye placement on the head, the overall beak size, and the lores, and gape size relative to the rests oft eh head that look like a RTHA to me.

There is really nothing about this bird that appears like a BWHA to me.

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9 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

My only issue is that 'belly band' appears to cover the entire breast.  I'll attribute that to a regional / subspecies difference.  Otherwise, I agree with Red-tailed.

It’s also an immature, so its belly band is going to be much larger. 

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On 3/31/2023 at 7:31 PM, DLecy said:

I believe it does have a patagial mark on the right wing. I can see one when I zoom in.

As for the tail, it lacks a thick and defined terminal/subterminal band. The tail bands are also much more thin than I have ever seen on a BWHA before, including those in your link, and match quite well with RTHA.

Facial structure is a little more hard for me to explain. I do think the eye placement on the head, the overall beak size, and the lores, and gape size relative to the rests oft eh head that look like a RTHA to me.

There is really nothing about this bird that appears like a BWHA to me.

 

Thanks!

OK, I guess that could be a bit of a patagial mark, as @Averysaid too.

Maybe the eye is a little closer to the beak in this bird than a Broad-winged, and the beak is a little smaller relative to the head?  But I'm not at the point where I can see a difference between this bird's tail bands and the ones in the first picture in that link, except the last band.

 

Edited by Jerry Friedman
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4 hours ago, Jerry Friedman said:

 

Thanks!

OK, I guess that could be a bit of a patagial mark, as @Averysaid too.

Maybe the eye is a little closer to the beak in this bird than a Broad-winged, and the beak is a little smaller relative to the head?  But I'm not at the point where I can see a difference between this bird's tail bands and the ones in the first picture in that link, except the last band.

 

Ok, width is tough to determine and variable, but the number of bands should help. Compare the number of bands on the two birds you are referencing, the bird in the post, and the bird in the first picture in the link. I count 6 bands on some rects of the BWHA, and 9 on a few rects of the RTHA.

Per BOW for BWHA juvs...

"Juvenile rectrices longer and narrower than basic rectrices, buffy brown to olive-brown (28), crossed by 5–6 indistinct narrow bars of dusky brown (19), and subterminally by a broad band of dark olive brown (21), the bars narrower and less distinct than on basic feathers (Pyle 2008)"

Per BOW for RTHA juvs...

"Tail with thin and tapered rectrices, hair brown (119A) crossed by 8-12 fuscous bands of approximately equal width, and narrowly tipped with whitish."

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18 hours ago, DLecy said:

Ok, width is tough to determine and variable, but the number of bands should help. Compare the number of bands on the two birds you are referencing, the bird in the post, and the bird in the first picture in the link. I count 6 bands on some rects of the BWHA, and 9 on a few rects of the RTHA.

Per BOW for BWHA juvs...

"Juvenile rectrices longer and narrower than basic rectrices, buffy brown to olive-brown (28), crossed by 5–6 indistinct narrow bars of dusky brown (19), and subterminally by a broad band of dark olive brown (21), the bars narrower and less distinct than on basic feathers (Pyle 2008)"

Per BOW for RTHA juvs...

"Tail with thin and tapered rectrices, hair brown (119A) crossed by 8-12 fuscous bands of approximately equal width, and narrowly tipped with whitish."

Thanks!  I counted 7 bands including the thick one on some rectrices of the Broad-wing (and on photo 3 at that link, and 8 on photo 11).  Nine is probably too many for a Broad-wing.  In the field, of course, any of those numbers is just hrair, so I hadn't thought of counting them on photos and didn't know about the difference, so thanks for pointing it out.

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1 hour ago, Jerry Friedman said:

Thanks!  I counted 7 bands including the thick one on some rectrices of the Broad-wing (and on photo 3 at that link, and 8 on photo 11).  Nine is probably too many for a Broad-wing.  In the field, of course, any of those numbers is just hrair, so I hadn't thought of counting them on photos and didn't know about the difference, so thanks for pointing it out.

Of course. Tbh, I hadn’t really dug into it much myself until some of these recent discussions. Always an open to learn more, which is one of the biggest reasons I love birding.

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Hi Guys...

I *think* I never got any email notices.  I might have something set up wrong.  So... I just came to check and noticed all the input.  Wow!  I'll go through them and see if I have any more questions.

Thank you to all

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On 3/31/2023 at 11:09 AM, Jerry Friedman said:

That's what I was thinking, but I don't see any patagial marks.

Here are two more photos.  I am new here and didn't want to just flood the site with billions of useless photos.  But these two (if I'm following the conversation correctly) might show the patagial marks.  (These were the next to frames shot in the sequence.  The next two are too fuzzy to be of any use I'm sure.)

_T2A5247.jpg

_T2A5248.jpg

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16 minutes ago, pedz said:

Here are two more photos.  I am new here and didn't want to just flood the site with billions of useless photos.  But these two (if I'm following the conversation correctly) might show the patagial marks.  (These were the next to frames shot in the sequence.  The next two are too fuzzy to be of any use I'm sure.)

_T2A5247.jpg

_T2A5248.jpg

Yes, those photos show the patagial mark on the right wing--a bit on the small and light side, maybe, but clearly answering my question.  They also show a nice belly-band pattern for a Red-tail.

When you're choosing from a lot of photos, the thing to ask yourself is which ones show parts of the bird that others don't.

I don't get email notifications here, and I don't know whether there's a way to get them.

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31 minutes ago, pedz said:

Here are two more photos.  I am new here and didn't want to just flood the site with billions of useless photos.  But these two (if I'm following the conversation correctly) might show the patagial marks.  (These were the next to frames shot in the sequence.  The next two are too fuzzy to be of any use I'm sure.)

Definitely a Red-tailed Hawk with those last few photos clearly showing the patagial marks. Sorry for any confusion our earlier suggestions may have created. :classic_blush:  For future reference, extra photos showing different/more field marks are always welcome, especially with the trickier IDs. 

 

Didn't realize Jerry Friedman had already replied. *works on my timing*

Edited by lonestranger
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1 minute ago, Jerry Friedman said:

When you're choosing from a lot of photos, the thing to ask yourself is which ones show parts of the bird that others don't.

That makes sense.  I also need to learn which parts help with identification.

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8 minutes ago, pedz said:

That makes sense.  I also need to learn which parts help with identification.

Which is unfortunately the bulk of ID knowledge. It varies for each species, though there are usually similarities across closely related species. In hawks, tail pattern and underside patterning are usually the two key areas to focus on. 

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11 minutes ago, pedz said:

That makes sense.  I also need to learn which parts help with identification.

When it comes to getting photos to help with the ID, the more angles and postures you can capture the better. Front shots show the belly and under tail, side shots might show wing bars and wing shape and projection, back shots might show tail patterns different from the front view, spread wing shots can reveal underwing patterns, etc., etc. If a new photo reveals a new part of the bird's body, it could help cinch an ID one way or the other. Your last few photos showed the patagial marks that weren't as easy to see in your first set of pictures, but are one the key identifiers for a Red-tailed Hawk.

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