English and Scientific names:

Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)

Number of individuals: 

1 light juvenile


Cameron Parish

Specific Locality:

PSI Midstream Cameron Meadows Gas Processing Plant nr. Johnson Bayou Baptist Church/library (MP 15.5) off LA-82, ca. 0.5 mi. E of Johnson Bayou

Date(s) when observed:

30 October 2010

Time(s) of day when observed:  

~2:00 – 2:30 PM CDT

Reporting observer and address:

Devin Bosler                                                          Lancaster, PA 17601

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

m. ob.

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

James Beck (originally discovered on 27 Oct), Paul Conover, Mac Myers, m. ob.

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Clear sky with optimal mid-afternoon sunlight.  Sun angle high and behind observer.  Backlighting or glare not a factor.

Optical equipment: 

Zeiss Victory FL 8x42, Kowa TSN 881 Angled 88mm scope w/ 20-60x optical zoom , Canon Powershot SD1100 IS (all equipment in excellent condition)

Distance to bird(s): 

ca. 75-100 meters

Duration of observation:

~30 min.


Rural residential/industrial corridor on chenier ridge plain amid vast pastures, fallow fields, freshwater and saline marshes.

Behavior of bird: 

Resting and preening on large (dead) live oak snags.  Observed at rest and in flight.  Soaring overhead briefly before drifting eastward.



Very large, pale Buteo.  Upperparts uniform dark brown.  Extensively pale, largely unmarked underparts (some dark flecking on belly and sides/flanks).  Dark crown and nape contrasting with whitish auriculars and throat.  Darkish eye line.  Pale supercilium. White feathering down tarsus.  Long, yellow gape reaching center line of eye.  Pale yellow irides.  Large bright yellow cere.  Bright yellow feet.  Wingtips did not reach tail tip when perched.  In flight, white bases to primaries creating large pale panel near wingtips.  Dark “comma” noticeable at wrist.  Underwings very pale with scattered dark markings.  Tapered wingtips in flight.  Base of tail entirely white with light bands on distal half.



Similar species:

Typical Eastern Red-tailed Hawk (B. j. borealis) can be eliminated by overall large size, pale head, lack of dark belly band, white tail base, and long gape.  Krider’s Red-tailed Hawk (B. j. krideri) can be eliminated by overall large size, lack of dark markings on underwings and tail, and long gape. 

No other similar N.A. raptors.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Digiscoped photographs by Devin Bosler.  Yes, attached.

Previous experience with this species: 

Prior experience from multiple Western states incl. NM, ID, MT, and TX.


Identification aids:

National Geographic Complete Birds of N.A. (Alderfer et al. 2005), Raptors of Eastern North America (Wheeler 2003).

This description is written from: 

notes made during the observation, notes made after the observation, memory.

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 



Date and time: 

27 October 2010  Time:  10:30 PM CDT