Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Krider's Red-tailed Hawk?

The bird of the day was this unusually pale adult Red-tailed Hawk, showing several field marks good for 'Krider's' Red-tailed Hawk, a Great Plains race of the Red-tailed Hawk.

The bird was around for most of the day, and may very well still be present tomorrow.

It never got very close to the hawk platform, so my shots are very low quality. Still, the following distinguishing field marks are visible: extremely pale underparts, with practically no belly band; no markings on the underwing coverts; a pale head with a slightly darker malar mark and a neck strap; faint patagial bars.

Visible in the field, but not in my photos, were the following field marks: extensive white spotting on the upperwing coverts; basal part of the tail white, distal part orange-reddish.

Jerry Liguori in Hawks From Every Angle warns against confusing pale eastern borealis redtails with Krider's, but those birds generally exhibit only one or two Krider's-like characteristics. Our bird appears to show all those characteristics.

Chris Neri may have better photos of this bird... to be continued.

There was also a juvenile dark/intermediate Red-tailed Hawk present today. Other sightings included 9 Turkey Vultures, 1 Osprey, 10 Bald Eagles, 10 Northern Harriers, 259 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 2 Cooper's Hawks, 3 Northern Goshawks, 59 Broad-winged Hawks, 19 Red-tailed Hawks, 21 Rough-legged Hawks, 2 Golden Eagles, 4 American Kestrels, 2 Peregrine Falcons, and 2 unidentified buteos. The total count was 403 raptors.

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