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Red-tailed Hawk Patagial Marks

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Sunday, September 8, 2013 

Do all Red-tailed Hawks show dark patagials? Well, yes, but…

Dark patagials (or "patagial bars") is a well-known ID trait for light-morph Red-tailed Hawks, but some show very faint patagials, appearing as if they lack dark "bars" altogether. This is more common with juvenile Red-tails than adults, with Eastern Red-tails than Western, and on heavily marked Harlan's  moreso than heavily marked light-morphs of other races, but light-morphs of any age or race of Red-tail can show faint patagials.

On the other hand, there are very pale Red-tailed Hawks with bold patagial marks, so be careful to ID or dismiss an ID based on this one trait. Below are a few Red-tails with faint patagials and a few lightly marked birds with bold patagials. By the way, I have seen other people's photos that are even better examples than these. Enjoy!


8 Comments:
Blogger Mia McPherson said...

Thanks for this info Jerry! Always helps to know more about the raptors we love.

September 9, 2013 at 5:10 AM  
Anonymous Dave Morrison said...

Holy cow, those are great examples! What a neat feature to keep an eye out for. Thanks Jerry for this blog, I love it.

September 9, 2013 at 6:51 AM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

Thanks Dave and Mia.

September 9, 2013 at 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two bottom birds look Kriderii, are they ?

Pete Gustas

September 9, 2013 at 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Derek Lyon said...

The more variation you point out the more I realize that I need to look closely at every picture I see.

Aren't most of these birds Kriders?

September 10, 2013 at 5:50 AM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

Hi Pete and Derek

The first 3 are Harlan's, the last 3 are Krider's. But the 5th one down is tough since fuertes and krider's start to overlap in plumage between South Dakota and Oklahoma and this is a wintering bird. But shows mostly krider's traits


















































































































































September 10, 2013 at 6:39 AM  
Blogger Wally Jones said...

Nice series showing how much variation can be encountered. Add to that, "tricks" of light, a drop of sweat in the eye and (in my case) limited experience and all of a sudden a positive i.d. isn't so positive!

You mean I have to look at ALL the bird's characteristics?? :)

I'm enjoying your posts! Thank you!

September 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

Thanks Wally...I appreciate the comment

September 11, 2013 at 7:47 PM  

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