Date: 11/24/18 5:17 pm
From: Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Harlan or not?
Hi - 

I want to second Dave's comment about bill size.  Among large  Buteos, Red-tail and Ferrugineous have comparatively large bills (but very different head shapes), while Swainson's and Rough-leg have small bills and tend to have  steeper foreheads.  This tracks with diet:  Red-tails and Ferrugineous will take relatively large prey, while Rough-legs are vole (and lemmings in summer) specialists, and Swainson's eat lots of insects as well as small mammals and reptiles.   In my recent travels across the SW I wished I knew more about this for the southern species.  I found a bird in Arizona that I tentatively identified as an imm. Zone-tailed.  It seemed to have too small a bill to be a melanistic Red-tail, but I do not have enough experience with Zone-tails to be sure they are so small-billed.

One other comment:  Tom MacNamara commented that the white on the face is good for Rough-leg.  I agree,and it is not something I see on (real) Red-tails. However I do see it on quite a few photos labeled "Harlan's" on line.  Some of hose might well be mis-labeled, but I would hesitate to use it to separate Harlans from Rough-leg without learning more about head pattern in Harlan's.  An apparent (light) Harlan's I photographed about a week ago near Deming NM had white patches on the cheeks.

On 11/24/2018 1:39:43 AM, David Irons <llsdirons...> wrote:
In addition to the excellent points made by others, this bird has a proportionally small bill and long wings, both good fits for Rough-legged Hawk, which I too believe this is. The somewhat ghosted tail pattern with the broad darker sub-terminal band only fits Rough-legged. 

Dave Irons
Beaverton, OR 
From: <obol-bounce...> <obol-bounce...> on behalf of Tom McNamara <tmcmac67...>
Sent: Saturday, November 24, 2018 5:41 AM
To: Craig Miller
Cc: Nagi Aboulenein; obol; <taghrid.birds...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Harlan or not?
Yep, dark morph Roughleg. In addition to points others have made a few things to note: 
-- whitish nape spot is good for roughies
--  ditto the whitish forehead and lores
--   the wingtips are a little longer than the end of the tail (redtail's wings don't reach the end of the tail)
--  and lastly-- look where this bird is perched... way out in the flimsy twigs of this tree. This is a known habit for roughlegs most buteos  prefer more robust perch sites. 
good birding, Tom

On Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 9:12 PM Craig Miller <gismiller...> [mailto:<gismiller...>] wrote:

Nagi and all,

I agree with Hendrik that this is most likely a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk. A black wrist mark, typical on Rough-legged Hawk, is just visible on the underwing in flight in the 4th photo. The lack of any white speckling on the back tends to rule against Red-tailed Hawk subspecies. In the last two photos, a very dark band along the tip of the tail contrasts with a slightly lighter tail proximally, ruling out dark morph Ferruginous Hawk, and also not so good for Harlan's Hawk. Dark morph hawks can truly be a challenge!


Craig Miller
Bend, Oregon

On Fri, Nov 23, 2018 at 8:26 PM Nagi Aboulenein <nagi.aboulenein...> [mailto:<nagi.aboulenein...>]> wrote:

Hi All -

While sifting through the many dozens of Red-tailed Hawks that we saw today at Lower Klamath NWR, one stood out as a possible Harlan candidate. Some aspects seem to point to Harlan, while others cast some doubt on that proposition.

Pro-Harlan aspects:
* Solid dark brown, except for a little bit of white on/near head and around nose.
* No rufous coloration anywhere
* Tail feathers were solid dark brown and vent area was white or light buff
Anti-Harlan aspects:
* Lack of white tail - some references say Harlan’s can have dark tails, others insist on the white tail?
Photos of dark-morph Harlan’s were hard to find online, so we were unable to compare our bird’s photos.

Anyways, looking for comments/thoughts regarding this bird. A couple of photos attached below.

Lastly - regardless of Harlan or not - what a beauty of a bird!

Good birding,

Nagi & Taghrid
Join us on Facebook!