Immature Krider’s Hawk (or intergrade?) in Louisiana

2011 February 14
by David J. Ringer

VICKSBURG, MISS. — My February column at 10,000 Birds — What is a raptor? What you “know” is probably wrong! — reminded me to post photos of an interesting Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) I found last month across the river in Louisiana.

Immature Krider's-type Red-tailed Hawk perched

This bird, an immature as its yellow irises show, has a largely white head, faintly marked underparts, and white mottling and hints of rufous in the wing coverts. This is all consistent with Krider’s Hawk (see spectacular photo of a similar bird), which is thought to be a pale northern prairie race of the Red-tailed Hawk, but one that now intergrades extensively with other populations and thus perhaps is gradually losing its identity. This bird is certainly pale but is more heavily marked than some others of which I’ve seen photographs. Whether this means it has mixed ancestry I do not know.

Immature Krider's-type Red-tailed Hawk in flight

The same bird in flight. Note extensive white in inner primaries, reddish tail with thin brown bands and apparently a whitish base, and what seems to be only faint patagial markings (difficult to see in this shot). For excellent information on Krider’s Hawk status and identification, see Jerry Liguori and Brian Sulllivan’s A Study of Krider’s Red-tailed Hawk (PDF) and Krider’s Hawk photos (PDF).

Any additional thoughts on this individual, or on Krider’s Hawks in general?

Related posts:

  1. Gorgeous dark morph Harlan’s Hawk in Missouri
  2. Cooper’s Hawk on the attack
  3. Birding Louisiana’s southwest coast
  4. Identification of dark juvenile Parasitic Jaeger offshore of Louisiana
  5. Wintering Black-chinned Hummingbird in Louisiana
One Response
  1. Lisa Berger permalink
    February 16, 2011

    I’m glad R-Ts aren’t WSYWIG. That’d take all the fun out of it.

    The photos fit imm. Krider’s type, but don’t preclude intergrade. Until there’s more genetic research on populations that were formerly designated subspecies, we won’t really know.

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