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Very badly lit Hawk ID needed


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I've embedded different light-adjusted edits of a few of the same photos.  Some app hits are giving me Swainson's hits, which would be very rare for the area.  I initially reported Short-tailed hawk, but I took that down.  Taken this afternoon in Boynton Beach, Florida:

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1 minute ago, Aidan B said:

I actually kinda like Swainson's for this bird. Given the rarity I probably wouldn't call it though.

Do you have any more photos? They don't need to be sharp, I'd just love to get more of an impression of the wing shape. 

Agree, structurally this seems more like a Swainson’s than a Short-tailed, with the relatively long tail and slender wings. 
 

Tougher to rule out Red-tailed, but lightening the photos may show lack of dark patagial bar and overall plumage more consistent with an immature Swainson’s.

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18 minutes ago, IKLland said:

What about a funky immature red shouldered?? Swainson’s fits too 

The translucent wing crescents would be obvious if it were a Red-shouldered.  I also think it doesn't look like a Red-tailed, just based on plumage as I am not familiar enough with structure.  There are no dark patagials and the upper breast is very densely streaked.

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1 hour ago, AlexHenry said:

@Jerry Friedman since you seem to be a raptor fan

A fan, not an expert, but the shape sure looks like a Swainson's to me, with long, narrow wings lacking a secondary bulge, only four "fingers" and a relatively long tail.  The plumage looks right too--the wing linings are a little lighter than the flight feathers, there's a prominent comma, and the tail is right.  I think Red-shouldered is ruled out by the commas and the lack of wing crescents despite some visible backlighting.  Red-tailed would have patagial marks [*] and bulging wings.

@dragon49I think you can go ahead and report this as Swainson's, given the general impression here.  As usual, if you like I could put it on the Raptor ID group on Facebook.  As @Aidan Bsaid, if you have even distant shots showing how it holds its wings when soaring, that would seal the deal--Swainson's flies with a dihedral (wings raised a bit above the horizontal).

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29 minutes ago, Jerry Friedman said:

A fan, not an expert, but the shape sure looks like a Swainson's to me, with long, narrow wings lacking a secondary bulge, only four "fingers" and a relatively long tail.  The plumage looks right too--the wing linings are a little lighter than the flight feathers, there's a prominent comma, and the tail is right.  I think Red-shouldered is ruled out by the commas and the lack of wing crescents despite some visible backlighting.  Red-tailed would have patagial marks [*] and bulging wings.

@dragon49I think you can go ahead and report this as Swainson's, given the general impression here.  As usual, if you like I could put it on the Raptor ID group on Facebook.  As @Aidan Bsaid, if you have even distant shots showing how it holds its wings when soaring, that would seal the deal--Swainson's flies with a dihedral (wings raised a bit above the horizontal).

100% not a Red-shouldered Hawk.  

These are the only shots I have - I can't see how posting the original, un-cropped pics would help.  I was on a narrow trail bordered by tall trees on each side, but when I saw the raptor, I ran to a spot where I could get an opening and managed these. 

I don't mind if you put it on the raptor ID group for extra help.

Ty

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The lightened version makes it even a clearer Swainson's.

Over at Facebook, Lucas Wilson wrote,

"Yes, Swainson's Hawk, a rare but regular migrant and wintering bird in Florida. Exceedingly long, tapering wings and shock white undertail coverts on a dark/dark intermedaite morph raptor (that's not just the lighting)."

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48 minutes ago, Jerry Friedman said:

The lightened version makes it even a clearer Swainson's.

Over at Facebook, Lucas Wilson wrote,

"Yes, Swainson's Hawk, a rare but regular migrant and wintering bird in Florida. Exceedingly long, tapering wings and shock white undertail coverts on a dark/dark intermedaite morph raptor (that's not just the lighting)."

I went ahead and submitted it as a Swainson's Hawk.  My County Rare Bird Alert should come out within 30 minutes.  I'll let everybody know whether this gets approved.  Reviewers are probably off for the night.  I'll know by sometime tomorrow.

Very much appreciate all the effort here by everyone who helped out.  It's been two years and 5 days since anybody reported a Swainson's Hawk on the refuge, so if this holds, I'll get some local "cred."! 🙂

Edited by dragon49
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3 hours ago, Jerry Friedman said:

A fan, not an expert, but the shape sure looks like a Swainson's to me, with long, narrow wings lacking a secondary bulge, only four "fingers" and a relatively long tail.  The plumage looks right too--the wing linings are a little lighter than the flight feathers, there's a prominent comma, and the tail is right.  I think Red-shouldered is ruled out by the commas and the lack of wing crescents despite some visible backlighting.  Red-tailed would have patagial marks [*] and bulging wings.

@dragon49I think you can go ahead and report this as Swainson's, given the general impression here.  As usual, if you like I could put it on the Raptor ID group on Facebook.  As @Aidan Bsaid, if you have even distant shots showing how it holds its wings when soaring, that would seal the deal--Swainson's flies with a dihedral (wings raised a bit above the horizontal).

I just requested to join the FB raptor ID group.

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20 hours ago, dragon49 said:

It got confirmed!

Local expert I was chatting with echoed sentiments here - only 4 fingers, and long, sharp wings, so it must be a Swainson's.

 

 

 

What is this counting “fingers” thing on buteos? I’ve never used it myself and feel like I’ve only heard of it on this forum?

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1 hour ago, AlexHenry said:

What is this counting “fingers” thing on buteos? I’ve never used it myself and feel like I’ve only heard of it on this forum?

I've only been birding a year and 10 months, and just heard of it myself.  I'll let more experienced folks here chime in on this.

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1 hour ago, AlexHenry said:

What is this counting “fingers” thing on buteos? I’ve never used it myself and feel like I’ve only heard of it on this forum?

Broad-winged Hawks and Swainson's Hawks have four fingers (primaries that are separated due to emargination), other buteos have five, accipiters and eagles have six.  That can be very useful, especially on silhouetted birds.  The hawkwatchers at the Raptor ID group on Facebook talk about it all the time, and here's a web site that mentions them and notes that it's the only sure way to tell dark-morph Broad-winged from dark-morph Short-tailed, not that that's likely at in the U.S. or Canada.

https://www.carolinabirdclub.org/misc/id/buteos/

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