English and Scientific names:

White-tailed Hawk, Buteo albicaudatus

Number of individuals: 

1 unsexed light immature

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Cameron Parish

Specific Locality:

Willow Island

Date(s) when observed:

29 Oct 07, 10 & 12 Nov 07

Time(s) of day when observed:  

ca. 9000, 1100 & 0945

Reporting observer and address:

James W. Beck 100 Aurelien Loop #101 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):

Paul Conover, Mac Myers

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

seen both on overcast days and with the sun two the southeast of the bird

Optical equipment: 

Swarovski 10x42 EL & Swarovski 8.5x44 binoculars

Distance to bird(s): 

varying -- ca. 20 meters to 100 meters

Duration of observation:

as short as 15 seconds to as long as 5 minutes


heavily storm damaged predominately oak chenier with plowed fields of Senna, false indigo, morning glory, ragweed & other unidetified herbaceous species. fields adjacent to plowed area with same vegetation, in ca. .5 - 3 meters in height.

Behavior of bird: 

mostly seen perched, but also observed hovering over fields as well as flyover.


large, all dark brown Buteo with long primary projection over tail on perched bird, (length at least 6 cm). legs and cere dull yellowish. light-colored markings behind the eye and below and behind the cheeks, whitish "blaze" under chin to upper breast, white flashes under wings on body. scapulars and median covers lightly edged with pale brown. tail light with brown barring, no subterminal or terminal band.



Similar species:

dark or "Harlan's" Red-tailed -- primary projection/face, chest and underwing pattern/tail Rough-legged -- feathering on legs reaches near tarsi on this species/tail pattern, underwing pattern dark Swainson's -- tail has subterminal band/patagials with more pronounced contrasting pattern

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

yes, attached by me, also photographed by Robert C. Dobbs & Paul Conover.

Previous experience with this species: 

south TX, & LA (Welsh bird)

Identification aids:

after observation:
Sibley, Wheeler & Clark

This description is written from: 

memory, pictures

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




James W. Beck

Date and time: 

20 Nov 07, 1102