English and Scientific names:

White-tailed Hawk, Buteo albicaudatus

Number of individuals: 

one dark immature

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Cameron Parish

Specific Locality:

Willow Island

Date(s) when observed:

12 Nov 07

Time(s) of day when observed:  

ca. 0945

Reporting observer and address:

James W. Beck

Broussard, LA 70518

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

Robert C. Dobbs

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


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

fair skies, sun to the southeast of bird

Optical equipment: 

Swarovski 10x42 EL & Swarovski 8.5x44 binoculars

Distance to bird(s): 

varying -- ca. 20 meters

Duration of observation:

ca. 5 minutes


heavily storm damaged predominately oak chenier, surrounded
with fields with Senna & false indigo, morning glory vines and
various unidentified grasses recently mowed by bushhog.

Behavior of bird: 

perched, resting


large, mostly dark brown Buteo with lighter markings on
scapulars, median coverts. light spot behind cheek and under eye.  primaries dark brown barred, projection on folded wings beyond tail by ca. 6 cm. cere and feet dull yellow. on flying bird, dark patagials set off by contrasting light underwing with barred primaries and secondaries. tips of primaries all dark with little or no barring. under belly darl brown marked with white and similarly in undertail coverts. tail mostly whitish with dark barring. white markings on body underneath folded wings.
this was a second individual to the first immature White-tailed found by Paul Conover et al. both birds were seen simultaneously, and were differentiated by lighter facial and breast markings on this bird.
first identified as this species, we changed our mind to dark Red-tailed type until futher field marks were pointed out to us.



Similar species:

dark or "Harlan's" Red-tailed - primary projection
and tail/underwing pattern.

dark Rough-legged - feathering on legs
dark Swainson's - throat, underwing pattern, subterminal tail band

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

yes, by me, attatched

Previous experience with this species: 

no previous experience with dark "morph"
immatures, I have seen normal immatures in south Texas and Louisiana
adults in south Texas and Identification aids: at time of observation:

Identification aids:

after observation: Paul Conover, Sibley, National Geographic, Wheeler & Clark

This description is written from: 


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


yes, after first overlooking important field marks, the opinion of other birders and further research convinces me.


James W. Beck

Date and time: 

18 Nov 1124