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, seems to match second year plumage

3. Locality: Cameron Parish

   Specific Locality:  Johnsons Bayou area

4. Date(s) when observed:  09/13/2014

5. Time(s) of day when observed:

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

7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): Dave Patton spotted the bird, Mac Myers  

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

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

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition):  Zeiss 10s, good condition; Nikon III Fieldscope w/20-60 zoom. Nikon D50 w/300 mm lens

11. Distance to bird(s): probably 15-20 yards at closest

12. Duration of observation: perhaps 15 minutes    

13. Habitat: open coastal pastureland/grazed marsh    

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation: Dave saw the bird get off the ground as we were driving past it, and got us on it. It ascended quickly, and we started taking pictures as it soared quickly off to the west.  It landed in a distant tree, and we watched it.  We returned later and relocated it.  


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): 


A dark hawk with pale tail and a chestnut patch on wings, about the size of a Red-tailed Hawk.


Finer details were hard to note on bird given views and distance.  In flight, the bird has a Swainson’s-like look, with pointed wings held angled slightly upwards.


A fairly dark-bodied bird with some paler chest speckling.  Underwing linings dark, contrasting with slightly paler flight feathers.  Tail slightly paler, but still dusky, looking medium gray in the light. Slight dark subterminal band on tail.  Chestnut patch on lesser coverts of upperwing. 


Bird was extremely worn. 



16. Voice:  n/a

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation):


Dark versions of other expected hawk species ruled out by chestnut upperwing patch. 

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): We all took photos—Dave’s are best.     


19. Previous experience with this species: 


Seen the occasional individuals in Texas, also about 8 or 9 in Louisiana. 

20. This description is written from mental notes during observation, and photo reference. 


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

22. Date:  10/13/2014