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

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

1 adult  with adult plumage

3. Locality: Parish:   Calcasieu___________________________________________

   Specific Locality:  Hwy 397, few miles s. of I-10 Chloe exit, just n. of McNeese St.

4. Date(s) when observed: 12/29/2013 and 01/11/2014

5. Time(s) of day when observed: 1st sighting - 1:20 pm, 2nd sighting – 8:15am

6. Reporting observer and address: Jeanie Pousson

7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): Deanna Griggs & Beth Kramer


8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s): Brian Henderson, EO.

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): 1st sighting at 1:20pm bird was on east side of road.  Seen in direct, bright perfect light. 2nd sighting was at 8:15am.  He was on east side of road on phone pole – back lit.

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition):  No bins for first sighting up close, 2nd sighting: 15 pr of bins 8x32, 8x42,10x42 . . .  & zoom cameras

11. Distance to bird(s): less than 10 ft for 1st sighting. Approx 30 ft for 2nd sighting

12. Duration of observation: 1st sighting -  2+ min. 2nd sighting – 5 min.

13. Habitat: roadside of large medium height grassy agricultural pasture

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation): We were driving south on Hwy 397, when Beth spotted large hawk on east roadside shoulder, to our left.  We slowed and passed, seeing the hawk close-up, tearing at the flesh of large, freshly killed animal. He did not fly. We were just north of McNeese St. We turned around and went back north, driving slowly on the shoulder, observing without bins.  When we got a bit too close (about 20 ft) he launched in our direction.  We saw him twist, flap and rise to my right, less than 10 ft away, at about 4 -6 ft off the ground, in very good direct light.  We immediately reviewed the options in the Sibley’s and agreed it was a White-tailed Hawk; nothing else was similar. We drove ahead and turned around again.  As we passed his prey, we saw that it was a large rabbit still mostly intact and apparently very freshly killed.  We didn’t see the hawk again that day.  On 1/11/14, during our bird club field trip, 5 cars of 15 participants drove up to a hawk, perched on phone pole while another party was parked, observing him, on Hwy 397, not far from McNeese St, near our first sighting.  Our leader, Brian Henderson, probably thinking it would be a good training opp. plus noting the other observer, pulled our train over.  As we spilled out of cars, Brian recognized it as the White-tailed Hawk. He pointed out the hawk’s short white banded tail as she/he flew.

15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species): Large, upright hawk, on the road shoulder, bending repeatedly over prey and tearing at flesh. Dark brown head and white underside. We turned around & slowly approached. When he flew after a couple of min., from less than 10 ft,, we saw his fanned white tail from underside with one wide black band near end and his brilliant copper reddish brown shoulders and long wings with widely spread feather tips. 


16. Voice:  didn’t hear

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): not the tail or chest of a Red-shouldered; white underside unlike the Harris’ Hawk, the Rough-legged Hawk, Crested Caracara or the Golden Eagle. Wrong habitat for an Osprey, tail color and face also different.  Shoulder patch was much bolder copper than Red-shouldered and tail quite different.  It was the only species in the book that fit the hawk’s description.

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?):  Backlit pictures taken by Deanna Griggs during our 2nd sighting on 1/11/2014.

19. Previous experience with this species: zero

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


a. at time of observation: field guide of another in our group at 1st sighting, Brian Henderson’s confirmed ID at 2nd sighting.

b. after observation:  The Sibley Guide to Birds

21. This description is written from:

_____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);

X  notes made after the observation (date:1/5/14); x  memory.


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

23. Date:1/21/2014  Time:7:24pm