Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 00:54   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: La.
Posts: 262

Out for a ride today in southern Louisiana and spotted 4 hawks, two of which I believe to be red-tailed, but the other two have me puzzled. They both were in open field areas - white chest and dark, almost black back and wings. I did not see any streaking on the belly area of either of these hawks. Didn't see any red or brown on them either. Of course, a picture would be nice, but I don't have that to offer. By the way, they were seen about 20 miles apart. Any thoughts on ID?
pattianne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 7th January 2004, 16:37   #2
Bird Nut
Registered User
Bird Nut's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 256
Could they have been Northern harriers? The adult males are white underneath and grey above. And they like to hunt in open fields. They have a white rump (a white bar across the base of their tale seen from above).
Bird Nut is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 7th January 2004, 16:58   #3
Andrew Whitehouse
Professor of Listening
Andrew Whitehouse's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Aberdeen
Posts: 16,372
A lot of the North American Buteos (e.g. Red-tailed Hawk, Swainson's Hawk) have dark forms, so maybe it could be one of those. Or perhaps an Osprey, although that's not so likely over open fields I suppose.
Andrew Whitehouse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 7th January 2004, 19:21   #4
Dave B Smith
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 7,009
Have you considered Kites? Both Swallow-tailed and White-tailed fit your general color scheme. Of course in flight the Swallow-tailed would be obvious from his tail. Check them out in your field guides.
Dave Smith
Dave B Smith is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Old Thursday 8th January 2004, 03:09   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: La.
Posts: 262
Thanks to all for your thoughts. I have a picture of a Mississippi Kite that I took and I've about ruled that species out - the body shape seems all wrong. I did notice that the Northern Harrier has a dark form, so maybe......
That would be a first time sighting for me so I would really like to get a picture just to make sure about the correct ID. Guess I had "hawk" on the brain when I saw them but I couldn't get a perfect match with my field guide. Thanks again for your comments. When I get a photo, I'll post it.
pattianne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 8th January 2004, 04:05   #6
Larry Lade
Super Moderator
Larry Lade's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Saint Joseph, Missouri, USA
Posts: 14,396
Blog Entries: 3
Possible juvenile or dark phase Red-tailed Hawk

Hi pattianne,

Sometimes Red-tailed Hawks are pretty clear chested, i.e. no belly band. They are one of the most diversely plumaged raptors we have in North America. Sometimes they are almost completely black and conversely sometimes they can be just about all white. "Normally" they do have a brownish belly band on a white belly. The tails of the adults are "usually" reddish. Juveniles do not have a reddish tail, but rather have a dark brown, lighter brown banding on the tail.

The male Northern Harrier (Hen Harrier for our cousins across the pond) is gray above, white below. It has very distinctive black tips on the wings and a white rump. The tail is also "longish" on a harrier, shorter on a hawk. The Northern Harrier tends to fly (glide) low (a few feet) above a marshy or grassy area hunting for its prey. Red-tailed Hawk generally fly much higher and tend to circle high in the sky. Hawks may also sit on an elevated perch from which to view their surroundings.

Hope this helps.
83 - this year's total for Missouri Birds (Last year, 179)
21- this year's Yard Birds (Last year, 31)

1379 - my World List total
Larry Lade is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Old Thursday 8th January 2004, 21:35   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: La.
Posts: 262
Well, Larry, that info certainly helps. The birds in doubt were both perched on telephone poles. No white rump, no gray coloring, either. Maybe, just maybe, I have red-tailed hawks, with no red tail and dark brown-black plumage. I remember saying "black and white, no shading" when I saw them. Thanks. Now if I can just get a photo. Keep your fingers crossed for me! Thanks.
pattianne is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
kites and hawks i.d. please Shell Bird Identification Q&A 12 Monday 1st May 2006 16:10
Condors and Swainson's Hawks Charles Harper Birds & Birding 0 Tuesday 21st October 2003 13:25
5th Ave Hawks Frederic Birds Of Prey 2 Thursday 4th September 2003 00:13
5th Ave Hawks Frederic Books, Magazines, Publications, Video & DVD 1 Wednesday 3rd September 2003 12:59
hawks calling Judith Warner Birds Of Prey 7 Tuesday 12th August 2003 21:46


Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Page generated in 0.12111306 seconds with 16 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 04:36.