Checks and Balances

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Does anyone know what kind of Hawk this is?  I should look it up but I’m too lazy.



  • It’s a red-tailed hawk.

  • Olm, my first reaction was no, red tail hawks are browner and have red tails. I see them all the time. But after looking at some online photos, I’m confused. A lot of pics that look like the one above are identified as red-tails. Now, I’m wondering if my camera allowed me to see one in greater detail than I have before. But, still, where is its distinctive red tail?

  • It’s the cover picture on my Sibley guide. Definitely a Red Tail. The wing patterns are identical. Yours might be a young one.

  • Ben, that is what I’m thinking. Photos on more scholarly sites show the adults as redder all over with really red tails. Those photos identified as juveniles are paler with this check pattern more prominent and their tales hardly show any red.

    We have a pair of mated adults here for years. I don’t recall seeing any of the lighter colored juveniles before. Maybe this is a good sign? Maybe it is a year for the young like Ernie says.

  • Beautiful! I vote red-tail also.

  • wow – the detail underneath the wings is beautiful

  • I still get red-tails and red-shoulders confused – Chelsea is the family expert. If she was here, I’d ask her, although sounds like we have consensus at this point. Really beautiful, Kym.

  • A great photo (again 🙂 ), Kym. It doesn’t look like an Australian raptor so I cannot offer a suggestion. Although it doesn’t look like Henery Hawk. Foghorn Leghorn would not have answered back to your hawk 🙂

  • I think there is a bunch of juveniles just moved into the area or maybe I’m just noticing them. Today there were two chasing a third with a snake. I got some decent but not great photos.

  • It’s a badass hawk, is what it is.

  • It is a juvenile.

    Found a great post on this blog, 10,000 Birds, of a red-tailed in New York state, including a few good shots of the bird in flight.

    Here’s a good view of the underside of one in flight.

    Red-tailed are the most-observed hawk at Hawk Hill by the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory project. It’s probably the most common hawk in North America, though they’ve a variety of color forms and can be tough to i.d. (GGRO probably count more turkey vultures than any other bird, though the same bird maybe counted more than once, so it’s not fair to say which species is the most observed raptor. Vultures are also raptors.)

    GGRO are getting ramped up for the fall migration; a day-trip to Hawk Hill on a clear day during the migration is a great opportunity for learning and a load of fun!

  • red-tail for sure.

    the dark shoulder stripes are the giveaway.

    the redness is on the upper part of the tail, not the seen-from-below part.

  • Handsome hawk, whatever he/she is. Thanks for sharing!

  • What a beautiful hawk and a great photo Kym! The detail is amazing . . . . . .

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