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White-tailed Hawk Buteo albicaudatus


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White-tailed Hawk
credit: Agecom Bahia/CCSA

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Family: Accipitridae, Hawks and Eagles view all from this family

Description ADULT Has gray head and back, rufous "shoulders" (inner wing coverts), dark wings, and white underparts; tail is white with a broad, black subterminal band. In flight, white body, underwing coverts, inner flight feathers, and tail contrast with dark primaries (note the white patch near tips of outer flight feathers), dark trailing edge to wing and dark tail band. From above, white tail and rump, and red "shoulders" are striking. JUVENILE Mainly dark with white breast and vent, and white marks on head; tail is buffy gray, barred, and with a pale base on upperside. Adult plumage is acquired gradually over successive molts.

Dimensions Length: 21-23" (53-58 cm); Wngspn: 4' (1.2 m)

Habitat Widespread in Central and South America; resident in southern Texas on prairies and agricultural grassland and coastal scrub.

Observation Tips Visit Attwater National Wildlife Refuge.

Range Texas, California

Voice Utters a shrill kee-ke-kee-ke'de-ke'deÖ

Discussion Specialty of southern Texas. Adult's short, mostly white tail with black subterminal band, and red "shoulders," are striking and diagnostic in combination. Immatures have less distinctive plumage and longer tail than adult but in all birds wingtips extend well beyond tail when perched. Sexes are similar.