The "Northern" Red-tailed Hawk

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Thursday, February 13, 2014 

Brian Sullivan and I just submitted an article to be printed in North American Birds on the "Northern" Red-tailed Hawk, referred to as B.j. abieticola, also referred to as "Canadian" Red-tailed Hawk. This is the heavily marked borealis type that often gets confused for Western Red-tailed Hawks reported in the eastern half of the U.S. in winter. Keep an eye out for these types….

What is abieticola? Well, Jon Ruddy from Ontario just did a piece on this taxon for eBird regarding the variants he sees in his neck of the woods, and it should be up on the site soon. Today, abieticola is thought of as a form of the Eastern Red-tailed Hawk (B.j. borealis), but not enough is known about it to say either way if it is a separate subspecies, as some have proposed in the past. It does inhabit a wide-ranging but specific area, and can be told from "southern" borealis (or what we think of as typical lightly marked borealis), but there is much overlap in the plumages of the two types, and they interbreed in southern Canada and the very northeastern half of the US. The purpose of our article is to bring some attention to the subject and get birders to document and take a second look at Red-tails in general. The article shows over 20 different individuals and gives a sense of the plumage variation within this type, so hope people see it.

Here are some "Northern" Red-tails, but the variation is extensive and shown in the print article:

Blogger Cathy Sheeter said...

I can't wait to read the article, since this is a ssp I feel I know relatively little about. Do you know what edition it will be coming out in? I suspect that abieticola is under-acknowledged in Colorado, with most passed off as Western birds.

February 13, 2014 at 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never even heard of this type of Red-tailed, sounds interesting and I look forward to reading it. Jerry, will it be offerred on line?

February 14, 2014 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

I'm not sure actually, I guess I'll find out from the editor

February 14, 2014 at 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Derek Lyon said...

For those people looking for Jon Ruddy's article and can't find it. It's on the Canadian version of eBird, here's the link -

March 14, 2014 at 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Derek Lyon said...

Has your article been published yet Jerry?

March 25, 2014 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

Soon, it went to print 2 weeks ago

March 25, 2014 at 12:54 PM  
Blogger Jon Ruddy said...

Looking forward to your article, Jerry!

March 27, 2014 at 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Derek Lyon said...

Here's a link to the article:

April 24, 2014 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

Thank you Derek

I will put a link to download the PDF of the article on the HawkWatch International website in a few days

April 24, 2014 at 9:45 AM  

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