Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2018-18

Common name:

Zone-tailed Hawk

Scientific name: Buteo albonotatus
Date: 05/04/2018
Time: 1810
Length of time observed: approximately 4 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Zion NP - Kolob Reservoir Road, 2-3 miles south of Lava Point
County: Washington
Elevation: 6500-7000ft
Distance to bird: 1/4 of a mile approximately
Optical equipment: 10x42 Binoculars, Nikon D5500 with 55-300mm lens
Weather: Clear sky,warm day
Light Conditions: Sunny, no clouds
Description:        Size of bird: larger than COHA, smaller than TUVU
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Buteo shape
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Very dark all over
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
At first glance I thought it was a Turkey Vulture due to the very dark coloring and slightly lighter wing pattern of the bird but upon looking closer (through my binoculars) I could tell it wasn't. It was a very dark buteo type bird with feathered head, yellow cere and long tail with broad white mid-tail band. Overall smaller than Turkey Vultures that were also soaring nearby. See photo.
Song or call & method of delivery: n/a
Behavior: Soaring in circles high in the sky
Habitat: Open rugged field near woodland and canyon
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Similar coloring and wing pattern of Turkey Vulture. The Zone-tailed Hawk had a feathered head instead of a bald black or red head. It also had a yellow cere, a broad white mid-tail band and was smaller than Turkey Vultures that were also soaring nearby.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
This was my first sighting of a Zone-tailed Hawk but I'm familiar with Turkey Vultures from numerous yearly sightings spanning over several years.
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd edition and National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 6th edition
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Joanna Kane
Observer's address:  
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Pomera Fronce
Date prepared: 05/08/2018
Additional material: Photo
Additional comments: