You want to know something interesting? At least I think it is interesting…
I have had the unique experience to follow juvenile Red-tailed Hawks molting into adult plumage. Now, obviously the coloration changes in several ways, but one thing I learned that is unpublished (just a neat fact that isn't worthy of an entire article) is that most juveniles have a prominent bellyband, which often becomes less prominent as adults. Here is a local Utah breeding pair of Red-tails with minimal bellybands, and one of the fledglings (on fence post) showing a prominent bellyband. By all accounts, this juvenile will have a sparse bellyband when it gets its adult plumage next year. This is one factor that makes some juveniles confusing to ID to a specific race, particularly outside of the nesting season.
I have lots of posts with little tidbits in the works, so I hope you stay tuned…just need to find the time to get them up. And remember, if you learn something new on this blog and use it down the road, just give credit where it is due. I appreciate it!
"Click" on photos to enlarge.