Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2006-40

Common name:

Broad-winged Hawk

Scientific name: Buteo platypterus
Date: 26 Sep 2006
Time: 11:30 AM
Length of time observed: 45 seconds
Number: 1
Age: Juvenile
Sex: Unknown
Location: South of Squaw Peak Overlook, east of Provo
County: Utah
Latilong: 6
Elevation: ~7200 feet
Distance to bird: ~ 40 to 200 ft
Optical equipment: 8 x 42 binoculars
Weather: clear, no clouds, light breeze
Light Conditions: bright sunlight
Description:        Size of bird: medium sized hawk
(Description:)       Basic Shape: buteo sharped
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: dark brown above, very light below
(Description:)            Bill Type: raptor beak
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
From above:
 - The birds was dark brown above with some light mottling on the back and upperwing coverts.
 - There was a white band across the uppertail coverts
 - The tail was grayish brown.

From below:
 - The wings were a very uniform white except for very dark wing tips and a pronounced dark trailing edge.  There were some very light grayish carpal markings and a grayer area in the secondaries near the dark border.
 - The belly and breast where clean white with some very light streaking laterally near the head.
 - The throat was white bordered by very dark malar stripes which continued into the lateral breast streaks.
 - The tail was light gray with faint bands. The subterminal band was the darkest.

Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: The bird was flying along the front of the mountain a little bit below us.  Then it hit an updraft and turned towards us riding the thermal very high straight over our heads.
Habitat: Open mountain slope
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
A Swainson's Hawk would have thinner longer wings with more contrast in colors between the flight feathers and the underwing coverts.  There would probably be more bold spotting and streaking on the breast.

A Red-tailed Hawk would have at least some signs of patagial markings (there was no trace on the bird we saw). It would probably have some belly-band streaking and would probably lack the streaking extending from the prominent malar stripes.  We saw several Red-tailed Hawks in the same area and they seemed to be larger and more bulky with proportionately longer wings.

A Gray Hawk would have more streaking on the breast and belly; less pronounced dark wing tips and trailing edge; and a longer tail.

A Red-shouldered Hawk would have more streaking on the breast and belly and more of a  window in the primaries surrounded by darker areas.  The front part of the upperwing would probably have shown at least some rufous color.

Accipiters would have longer tails with more pronounced bands of more equal widths.  The underwings would have more markings and would lack the dark tips.  They would lack dark malar stripes.

Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I've seen Broad-winged Hawks in Texas and Costa Rica.
References consulted: Sibley's field guide and Peterson's field guide to hawks.
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Milton Moody (collaborating with Eric Huish)
Observer's address: 2795 Indian Hills Drive, Provo UT  84604
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Eric Huish
Date prepared: 20 Sep 2006
Additional material: None
Additional comments: