Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-51

Common name:

Zone-tailed Hawk

Scientific name: Buteo albonotatus
Date: 4/19/2017
Time: around 8am
Length of time observed: 10 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Lytle Ranch
County: Washington
Distance to bird: 50 feet
Optical equipment: Nikkon 8x40; Swarovski 10x50
Weather: Clear, sunny, light breeze
Light Conditions: Very good - early morning light
Description:        Size of bird: Large - vulture sized
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Like that of a raptor
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Dark with banding pattern on tail and two-toned underwings
(Description:)            Bill Type: Not observed
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Black overall, three bands observed on the tail, V-shaped soaring pattern, two-toned underwings, head was not bald
Song or call & method of delivery: None
Behavior: Soaring, possibly hunting
Habitat: Mix of desert srubland and riparian zone
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Thought it was a turkey vulture at first but noticed the very distinctive banding pattern on the tail. This was the first clue that it was different. Three bands were observed along with two toned underwings. Flight pattern was more of a V-shape compared to a turkey vulture. Finally noticed that the head wasn't like that of a turkey vulture. This might not mean much but it was solitary when most TV observations were in groups at Lytle Ranch. The bird was observed circling the side of a cliff just inside the entrance to Lytle Ranch, similar to observations of this species that we made in Texas at Big Bend Ranch State Park.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Very familiar with the bird in other parts of its range including Trinidad and Texas.
References consulted: Sibley
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Hema Kumar
Observer's address: Bloomington, IL
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Kal Kumar
Date prepared: 10/1/2017
Additional material:  
Additional comments: [nnina]