Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2005-

Common name:

Zone-tailed Hawk

Scientific name: Buteo albonotatus
Date: June 9, July 10 and 18, 2005
Length of time observed:  
Number: 2
Age: Adults
Sex: male and female ?
Location: Kolob Creek Meadows and Lava Point, Zion NP
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Elevation: ~ 2250 m
Distance to bird: 50 to 100 m
Optical equipment: 10 x 42 binoculars
Weather: ranging from completely clear to overcast
Light Conditions: various conditions throughout the summer
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
 All dark hawk, soaring like a Turkey Vulture. Body, back, and head all dark gray / black. Cere and legs bright yellow noticeable only in very good light or at close distance. Wings long, relatively narrow with splayed primary tips in flight; upperside all dark gray/black; underside with silvery wing linings and fine barring on secondaries and primaries. Tail relatively long and with alternating light and dark banding. Wide dark and light bands towards tip and thinner alternating bands towards the tail. (see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: Strikingly similar to a Turkey in flight with tippy flight and wings held in a dihedral. Observed perched once in a large ponderosa pine on Lava Point (July 18)
Habitat: Alpine meadows with cliffs, canyons, oak, aspen, ponderosa, and spruce/ fir forest nearby.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Common Black-Hawk eliminated by long narrow wings, pattern of tail banding, and length of tail relative to legs.

Turkey Vulture eliminated by yellow cere and legs, tail banding, and soaring behavior.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Very familiar with Zone-tailed Hawks
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell and Kristen Comella
Observer's address: 3505 West 290 North, Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Marcus Lawson, Larry Tripp
Date prepared: October 2, 2005
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: The pair of hawks were observed on three separate dates this summer: June 9, July 10, and July 18, 2005. This is third consecutive year a pair of Zone-tailed Hawks have summered in the Kolob  Canyon / Lava Point area. To date, neither a nest or young hawks have been seen