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Buteo ID help - Broad-winged hawk in San Francisco, CA USA ?? (1 Viewer)


New member
United States
Hi all- just found this site and excited to get more involved. Hello from California!

First of all, apologies for the awful photo quality. I can explain!

I was visiting a friend in San Francisco this weekend. Just before 10AM on Friday morning (8/19), I spotted two medium-sized hawks fly past my window, and one perched on a fence in a neighbor's yard. At first, I thought they were Red-shouldered hawks based on size/being common for the area.

Then I noticed the very prominent, wide, white band on the hawk's tail. That stood out to me.

Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a work meeting, my binoculars were in my car, and I have only been proper 'birding' for a few months so I have not yet invested in a nice wildlife photography setup. The best I could do was snap a grainy, far away photo with my iPhone. I did not even have a chance to crack a window to try to listen for calls.

This sighting occurred in a residential neighborhood on the northern edge of Golden Gate Park (less than a block from the park). 41st Ave between Fulton and Cabrillo.

I have been reading about broad-winged hawks in the Marin headlands area. This sighting occurred about 7 miles away from the Marin Headlands across the Golden Gate.

Would love it if anyone has insight on whether I am just looking at the likely Red-shouldered hawk, or if this is indeed a Broad-winged hawk.

Apologies that I could not get better documentation- I wish I could have too.



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Red-shouldered hawk, adult. The camera's compression algorithm has messed up the black-and-white flight-feather pattern to produce something that didn't actually exist, but it started off as contrastingly-barred secondaries. As Fern says, the white tail-bands are the thinner ones here, which is wrong for broad-winged hawk.
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