Date: 9/28/18 9:38 am
From: 'Jorgensen, Joel' <Joel.Jorgensen...> [NEBirds] <NEBirds...>
Subject: RE: [NEBirds] dark morph hawk, Polk Co, NE

It is difficult to reach any sort of conclusion about the identity of your hawk based on the limited details, but assuming it was a buteo there are a limited number of likely possibilities. Western Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis calarus) are dark, but based on information summarized on the Birds of Nebraska - Online (, it is a tad early for birds of that race to be appearing in Nebraska (doesn't mean it is impossible). Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk (B. j. harlani) are also dark, but it is also on the early side of things for that race as well. A dark-morph Ferruginous Hawk would be unlikely in eastern Nebraska, especially in September. Swainson's Hawk migration peaks in late Sep and early Oct and dark-morphs of that species are occasionally observed in Nebraska ( Thus, if I were betting, I would put my money on a dark-morph Swainson's Hawk.


Joel Jorgensen | Nongame Bird Program Manager
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
2200 N. 33rd 68503 | 402.471.5440

Visit the Birds of Nebraska - Online <> |

From: <NEBirds...> <NEBirds...>
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2018 6:03 PM
To: <nebirds...>
Subject: [NEBirds] dark morph hawk, Polk Co, NE

I have been in a birding black hole - doesn't seem to be much around! Came
across this dark morph hawk - no idea on an ID....I don't know hawks well
enough - especially this color... It was large, and very dark, only the
yellow bill and yellow legs had color. The white the the tail was not very
obvious, no other white on it - I first thought it was a raven - it was so

Other birds of note: a small pod of orange-crowned warblers and 4 or 5
white-throated sparrows (tan-striped). Notable lack of robins.
Marsha Nyffeler
Columbus, NE

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Join us on Facebook!