LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE

REPORT FORM

 

1. English and Scientific names:White-tailed Hawk, Buteo albicaudatus

 

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage): One, seemingly in full adult plumage

3. Parish: Calcasieu

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Specific Locality:Ca. 2.5 mi S of Iowa

4. Date(s) when observed: 12/01/2013

5. Time(s) of day when observed:mid-day

6. Reporting observer and address: Paul Conover, Lafayette, LA

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7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):David Muth

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8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):

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9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): Full sunlight to light overcast, sun behind us and bird before us during most of observation. ††††

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition):Zeiss 10s, Nikon Fieldscope, Nikon D50 w/300 mm lens.†††

11. Distance to bird(s):Initially, I think the bird was about a quarter of a mile away, and at least that distant for most of the observation.At one point we were able to drive closer at it soared over a rice field being cut.It dropped into the field about 200 yards away at one point very briefly near the end of the sighting.

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12. Duration of observation:Over an hour.

13. Habitat: Ag prairie, rice country.

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14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation:

 

First observed soaring high in the distance in a group of about 8 hawks (Red-taileds and 1 Swainsonís) and being harassed by a Crested Caracara. Continued to soar after the caracara left.Generally soared higher than other hawks, held place in space, also hovered at times.Drifted slowly east to west several times, lowered its legs in flight several times.From a great height, the hawks were apparently eyeing a rice field being cut.At one point the bird was close enough to the field that we switched location.This hawk was maintaining its high vantage point even at this site, but went down to the field then quickly flew away (I was watching elsewhere at the time and saw only the tail end of this).

 

15. Description:

Strongly patterned buteo with long broad wings narrowing toward the tips, bright white tail with distinct dark band.Soared with wings slightly above the horizontal. Distance made exact details impossible to detect but overall color and pattern noted.Clear bright white body below, medium dark above with pure white tail except for distinct even-width black subterminal band.Underwing linings bright white, flight feathers dusky, darker at trailing edge.Superficially, the hawk looked all white below except for a dark line along the rear edge of wings and tail.The upper surface of the bird appeared medium grayish or brownish with darker wingtips, with the white of the tail extending up the back as a wedge. Through the scope, on the few occasions when the bird banked and showed its upper surface, a grayish mantle and a reddish tint in the forewing was visible, but the extent and pattern of color in these areas were impossible for me to determine.

 

 

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16. Voice:

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17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation):Combination of black-banded white tail, white underwing linings with darker flight feathers, bright white underparts eliminate ďKriderísĒ and ďHarlanísĒ Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawk, Crested Caracara, Bald Eagle, Ferruginous Hawk, all of which can have whitish tails.

 

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18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): yes, by me.Poor but I believe definitive.

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19. Previous experience with this species:Iíve seen multiple individuals on many trips to their Texas range, though none recently.This is the third in this plumage Iíve seen in Louisiana.I believe this is the 6th White-tailed Hawk Iíve found in the state, and I think Iíve seen 8 over the past 15 years.††††††

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20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):

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a. at time of observation:

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b. after observation:

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21. This description is written from: memory

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain: Yes

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23. Date: 12/01/2013

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