Verification of Unusual
Rec. # 2021-41
|Scientific name:||Buteo albonotatus|
|Length of time observed:||2 hours|
|Distance to bird:||10 meters|
|Optical equipment:||8X42 binoculars and 500 mm lens|
|Light Conditions:||Varied from mostly shade to mostly sun|
|Description: Size of bird:||Mid-sized Buteo|
|(Description:) Basic Shape:||Hawk|
|(Description:) Overall Pattern:||All dark (black/dark brown)|
|(Description:) Bill Type:|
Field Marks and
All dark Buteo with yellow cere and pale-gray loral area. Extent of yellow on
face more limited than Common black-hawk. Primary projection appeared to extend
to tail tip. Black/white/brownish barring was briefly visible on upper-side of
tail. Very briefly saw its wings spread, including the pale/barred primaries and
secondaries and the contrasting dark wing lining (very blurry spread wing photo
included, which is a screen shot from a video I recorded). Some barring also
apparent on tertials. The way this bird was perched made some features difficult
to see (including leg length).
Other notable details:
This ZTHA showed up in the front yard of Justin Neighbor, who happens to be the only permitted raptor rehabilitator in Washington County. While observing this bird we suspected that it may have an injury, as it looked in rough shape and was behaving oddly tame. I watched it intermittently for about 2 hours as it plucked and ate a Rock Pigeon, and it was still working on its meal when I left. As it ate the pigeon, it perched on the honeysuckle hedge in his front yard, only a few feet off the ground and only a few feet from the roadway, and seemed mostly unbothered by passing vehicles, kids riding scooters, etc. (never flushed while I watched it).
Justin informed me the next day that this bird apparently had a tough time flying later that evening and he was able to successfully capture it. He said the bird was weak, dehydrated, and had damage to its bill. It is currently still in Justin's possession, but the condition of the hawk is steadily improving and Justin is hopeful that he will be able to release it soon.
|Song or call & method of delivery:||None|
|Behavior:||On low perch eating a pigeon. Only moved a few feet over the course of ~2 hours|
|Habitat:||Residential: older neighborhood with large pecans and other large trees|
were they eliminated:
Common Black Hawk: would show more yellow and less gray on face, and a shorter
Turkey Vulture: similar in flight, but not very similar while perched, especially when observed at close range.
Other dark morph Buteos were ruled out due to combination of details, including extent of yellow cere, gray on face, extent of banding on tail and underwings, structural details, etc.
this & similar species:
Third ZTHA observation in Utah (saw two different
individuals during consecutive days at Pine Park in August 2019). However, this
was my first time observing this species while perched.
Common Black Hawk: I see this species each year in Washington County, usually multiple times.
Dark Morph Red-tailed Hawk and other common dark morph Buteos: extensive prior experience
Turkey Vulture: yes, many observations
|References consulted:||Sibley App, Birds of the World Online|
Notes taken at the time of the sighting
|Observer's address:||109 S 330 W Ivins, UT 84738|
|Observer's e-mail address:||**|
|Other observers who independently identified this bird:||
Justin Neighbor, John Schijf....also observed by Seth Topham and his family
while under Justin s possession