English and Scientific names:

Harris's Hawk, Parabuteo unicinctus

Number of individuals: 

1 adult

Locality: LOUISIANA: 


Specific Locality:

1 mile east of Rayne, LA, along Hwy 90.

Date(s) when observed:

November 2, 2009

Time(s) of day when observed:  

4:00 PM

Reporting observer and address:

Dave Patton
Lafayette, LA 70506

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

Bill Hoffpauir and Paul Conover

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Bill Hoffpauir found the bird about 2 hours before we all met at the location.

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

setting sun behind us

Optical equipment: 


Distance to bird(s): 

100 yards

Duration of observation:

10 minutes


Open rice fields with hedge rows and grassy ditches along roads. Also a line of small trees along a railroad track near by.

Behavior of bird: 

Sitting on the cross tie of a telephone pole. It would flush and move to a different cross tie when we got too close. It also move over the tree line to a different area at times. It returned to the telephone poles a short time later. It was having a territory squable with a Red-tailed that liked a pole about 1/4 mile away. It seemed intent on searching the tall grass below the pole.


Dark brown head, back, and breast. Wings also dark with dark red shoulders and wing lining seen in flight. Breast and belly solid dark as with an adult. Long yellow legs without metal bands or jessies. White rump and under tail coverts as well as a white base to the tail. Thick dark band on the middle of tail with a thin and worn terminal band of white. Brown eye, yellow cere and face, and a silver gray bill. 



Similar species:

Red-tailed by solid dark body, white rump, red shoulders, and bright white rump and base of tail. These features also elliminated other species as well.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Yes. 300 mm lens on a Canon SLR by Dave Patton.

Previous experience with this species: 

One in Louisiana and a small number on trips to Texas.

Identification aids:


This description is written from: 

Memory and photographs taken yesterday

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


Yes. There are several Harris\'s Hawks in Texas at this time near the LA boarder according to Texas naturalist John Arvin.

Date and time: 

November 3, 2009, 12:30 PM