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Super dark Harlan's?

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I've seen Harlan's red-tail before but this is much darker than those.  It is just a really dark Harlan's?

Harlans Redtail (1 of 1)

 

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Appears to be Dark-morph red-tail.   Rufous tail, and no white streaking anywhere around the head.

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I really wonder about this bird.  I don't think either a rufous tail or a solid black head completely rules out Harlan's, and I think there is a trace of white over the eye.  Also the band on the tail is quite irregular.

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To me the fact that this bird is almost entirely brownish rufous rules out Harlan's. Comparing dark morph red tailed with harlans, this exhibits practically no field marks for Harlans but everything fits for basic red tail. The band is a little wide but since the bird is youngish I think it fits fine.

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Thanks for the additional comments.  I guess I'm outvoted.  Melierax, I see brownish black but not rufous (except on the tail), but that's probably my color-blindness.  Also, how do you know it's a youngish bird--eye color?

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If this helps for the discussion the underside of the wings appeared white.  I've been trying to find this bird for the last few days but no luck.  The hunt is on!  Last time I went hunting for it I came back with a pair of great horns!!  I'm hoping for barn owls next!

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Side-by-side comparison with this bird and a Harlan's (I'm not looking at the pattern here, just the overall hue of the bird)... Harlan's can be brownish but not this brownish. The rufous I'm seeing is highlighted in the bird's wings. And yeah, I'm mostly going by eye color since it's transitioning from light to dark. 

 

49004055856_03634ea89c_b.thumb.jpg.211bdcf3af6eb652bfa8c86cb73a2125.jpg871352395_Harlans3.JPG.1e529d75c828dd25e24988726c05f02b.JPG

Edited by Melierax
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On 11/6/2019 at 3:18 PM, Seattle said:

If this helps for the discussion the underside of the wings appeared white.  I've been trying to find this bird for the last few days but no luck.  The hunt is on!  Last time I went hunting for it I came back with a pair of great horns!!  I'm hoping for barn owls next!

I hope you see this beautiful bird again!  I don't think the underside of the wings helps much unless you can see a lot of detail.  Harlan's flight feathers are more likely to look streaky or mottled, I've read at the Facebook Raptor ID group.

 

11 hours ago, Melierax said:

Side-by-side comparison with this bird and a Harlan's (I'm not looking at the pattern here, just the overall hue of the bird)... Harlan's can be brownish but not this brownish. The rufous I'm seeing is highlighted in the bird's wings. And yeah, I'm mostly going by eye color since it's transitioning from light to dark.

Thanks for the pictures.  I'll take your word about the color.

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I thought I would show you want this guys tail looks like.  I agree it's not a Harlan's but we just don't see this color red-tail up here.   In eastern Washington we can easily see  50 of them in a day without trying very hard!!  It does have a white spot on the back of  it's neck.

Redtai l tail (1 of 1)

  

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That wide tail band is very weird from this angle... I'm more willing to say it's a Harlan's now because I know they can have lots of tail variations. I'm just not sure there are variations of western that look like this. I'm asking some people I trust will give a better answer than me. 

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Yep, the conclusion with my help was western x Harlan's cross or just a weird western. 

Edited by Melierax

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8 hours ago, Jerry Friedman said:

By the way, Seattle, how sure are you that those are the same bird?

Yup - same bird.  He (I guess based on size) hunts along the same road and sits along the same fence every day.  Fortunately there are no telephone poles  along this road so he has to sit on a fence post, sprinkler or gate.  It makes it a little easier for me since he flies off even if I slow the car down.   Red-tails a jumpy anyway but this guy is a little more than most. 

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