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Since you've all been so helpful! am going to keep on posting here as I go through old photos I never ID'ed!! This was taken in last June in Marin County, CA. Does the belly band make this an obvious red-tailed hawk? I am a bit thrown off by the face and tail, but it could just be my wishful thinking 🙂 I don't remember whether I saw it fly but this is the only pic I got.

IMG_2356.jpg

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This sure looks like a red-tailed hawk to me. The belly band is an obvious indicator for me. The barred tail is typical of immature birds and also seen on some west coast adults. While I always second guess myself because there are similar looking birds in different ranges that I'm not familiar with, I am fairly confident it's a red-tailed and not a sharp-shinned hawk.

Edited by lonestranger

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lots of I don't knows here eh?  Hawks are so fun 😞 

Definitely not sharp-shinned. Legs look too big, overall size, bill size, head size, all look too big to me. tail pattern doesn't look right for an accipiter to me, not that I'm looking at my guide.
I've seen people say that a red-shouldered can have a longer tail for a buteo and I'm getting a buteo feeling from this bird. My vote would be red-shouldered... but that's just an opinion at the moment.
Waiting to see what others say...

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eh, don't mind my rambling. Honestly, this all looks good for a red-tailed to me except the tail just looks VERY long for one. All that to say I'm just not sure.

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I think it could be a young coopers hawk - molting into its adult plumage. The dark vertical striping being its juvenile feathering and the light orange horizontal striping being its adult feathering coming in. The tail I think is way too long to be anything other than accipiter hawk to me. 

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Ooh, this is an interesting one. The plumage looks just fine for Red-tailed, but the shape and long tail look more like an accipiter.

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It looks like the branch is sort of creating the effect of a longer tail by hiding that area of the bird.  The bird does look somewhat elongated, but it also looks like it might be momentarily raising itself to get in a better position to see something..

RustyE, that is a good example of a somewhat similar Red-tailed that you have linked.

Edited by Bee_ keeper

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I agree with Kerri, I also think this is an immature Cooper's molting into adult plumage. The markings are consistent, and it isn't bulky enough for a Red-tailed, as well as the tail being too long for a RT. In the comparison photo that RustyE linked, look at the length of the wings in relation to the tail. I think what appears to be a "belly band" in the bird above is the feathers of an immature Cooper's that haven't molted to adult feathers yet.

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The tail pattern is completely wrong for a Cooper's or Sharp-shinned among other things others have already mentioned here.  I'm not sure how to rule out a Red-shouldered Red-tailed hybrid, but it definitely has Red-tailed in it if it's not a pure Red-tailed (which it probably is).

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40 minutes ago, The Bird Nuts said:

The tail pattern is completely wrong for a Cooper's or Sharp-shinned among other things others have already mentioned here.  I'm not sure how to rule out a Red-shouldered Red-tailed hybrid, but it definitely has Red-tailed in it if it's not a pure Red-tailed (which it probably is).

You're right, I didn't notice the tail pattern! :classic_blush: I thought of possible hybrid but didn't mention it because I thought it highly unlikely, as I was thinking Red-tailedxCooper's. Possible Red-tailedxSwainson's??

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Thank you! Glad to know I'm not the only one a little stumped. Feel free to share this elsewhere if it helps get a good ID 🙂 I am leaning toward RTH due to the belly band but I would love to be proven wrong 🙂 I don't know if I've seen a hybrid that I knew of so that would be very cool!!

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I agree this a red-tailed or at least partially so.  The only plumage consistent with accipiter is the trace of barring in the belly region.  The head pattern, belly streaking, and especially the tail pattern are wrong for accipiter.  The red-shouldered cross is intriquing, and would better explain the longer tail.

There are several RTHA x RSHA crosses documented.  Here is one.  Scroll down for various views.

https://eontbird.ca/?p=3994

Scott

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10 hours ago, I A Munro said:

Thank you! Glad to know I'm not the only one a little stumped. Feel free to share this elsewhere if it helps get a good ID 🙂 I am leaning toward RTH due to the belly band but I would love to be proven wrong 🙂 I don't know if I've seen a hybrid that I knew of so that would be very cool!!

I posted it to a Facebook group. There is no consensus yet, but one birder also brought up the Red-tailed x Red-shouldered possibility.

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10 minutes ago, akiley said:

I posted it to a Facebook group. There is no consensus yet, but one birder also brought up the Red-tailed x Red-shouldered possibility.

Hey, so did I, and the same possibility was brought up.  However, the more experienced people said it was a Red-tailed going through its first molt, with some adult feathers on the belly, and its tail wasn't unusually long for a bird that age.  Someone also suggested that its legs and talons were small, but someone else said she had trapped males like that, so maybe this is more likely to be a male.

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26 minutes ago, Jerry Friedman said:

Hey, so did I, and the same possibility was brought up.  However, the more experienced people said it was a Red-tailed going through its first molt, with some adult feathers on the belly, and its tail wasn't unusually long for a bird that age.  Someone also suggested that its legs and talons were small, but someone else said she had trapped males like that, so maybe this is more likely to be a male.

Interesting. What group is that?

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