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insanityslave

Red Shouldered?

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seen this jan/feb in NC. this fella has been hanging around my house a lot lately. ive id'd him as a (probably young) red shouldered simply by deduction: i believe it to be a buteo and  there should only be 2 in this area at this time of year and i dont think its a red tailed.  during the same day i saw a couple of red tails soaring overhead (interestingly enough they were with turkey and black vultures). and just a few days ago a saw a pair of adult red shouldereds tooling around making a racket.  if it IS a young red shouldered, id love to know to ID it (easily?) with a positive id, rather than just ruling out all others as a possibility. of course, if im wrong, id like to know why too 😉 Thanks!!

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You are correct that this is a young Red-shouldered Hawk. 
As you mentioned, it’s a buteo - bulkier and shorter-tailed than an accipiter. Beyond that, the horizontal barring on the flight feathers rules out Broad-winged or Red-tailed Hawks.

With experience, the best way to ID buteos is often the shape of the bird as it soars, as buteos tend to have very variable plumage (Red-tails especially, but Ferruginous and Rough-legs come in all flavors from vanilla to chocolate as well, and Red-shouldered have some pretty major regional variation). Red-shouldered Hawks are mid-size, larger than Broad-wings but smaller than Red-tails, and are rather “accipiter-like” buteos - compared to Red-tails, proportionately longer tailed, less bulky, with wings “reaching forward” a little bit.

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