English and Scientific names:

Ferruginous Hawk, Buteo regalis


Number of individuals: 

1 light first year






Specific Locality:

Erbelding Road,  Johnsons Bayou



Date(s) when observed:

December 27, 2010



Time(s) of day when observed:  

10:05 AM, then at about 2 in PM



Reporting observer and address:

Paul E. Conover

Lafayette, LA



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

Mac Myers


Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)


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

Sunny, mid-morning light from SE, bird first seen and photo’ed coming in low from W.



Optical equipment: 

Zeiss 10s, Nikon D50 with 200 mm lens



Distance to bird(s): 

Maybe 50 yards at closest.



Duration of observation:

Probably 20 minutes counting the two observations.




Open marsh/beach south of Highway 82.  Scrubby chenier runs through the marsh here.



Behavior of bird: 

Glided and flapped towards us.  It came in low, head on.  In that view, it had a strange crook in its profile that seemed at odds with Redtail, of which I’d just noted three in the same area.  We had an idea it was different. It went over us, not too concerned with our presence, then continued out and over the beach.  Later, we spotted the bird at a greater distance, but it soared back over our heads.  Bird was soaring with redtails, of which about a half dozen were within a ‘flock.’



Large buteo, thick-bodied and with long wings that narrowed beyond the bend of the wings.  Pale beneath, with dark wing commas, 2-3 narrow lines of small dark spots running down each covert tract, and stippling on less coverts.  Dark primary tips, gray turning to black distally.  Muted dusky trailing edge. Tail pale with thin, muted dusky terminal or subterminal band.


Above not seen as well or as at close of range.  Upperparts mainly dark brown. Strong primary flash, pale rump and tail.


Head: Brownish on crown and auriculars, with white supercilia.  malar, chin, throat white.  Gape and cere yellow. 



no vocalizations heard



Similar species:

Krider’s Hawk superficially similar, but this bird clearly did not have a Red-tail shape, and is separable by underwing pattern.  Photos of good enough quality to see ID.   


Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Pretty good photos.


Previous experience with this species: 

Mac and I had a very similar individual earlier in the day.  Otherwise, I’ve seen a few over the years in their main range and in state, as well, including one last October. 

Identification aids:


This description is written from: 

Memory, photos.



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




Dec 29, 2010.