Our Beautiful World

Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis  

© www.ecosystema.ru/

Now, lets see if we can find out why so many Buteo Jamaicensis....19 all in all, but all seems to be
the same: Red-Tailed Hawk???

Red-Tail Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis, flying high.

Red-Tail Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
Making a Fist. Doing a little calisthenics before the catch…
Here you can see where the wind-swept Scruffy gets her name.
She frequents this roof-top and seems to have gotten used to the photographer
lurking nearby with a pocket cam.

Photo: Steve Jurvetson (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buteo_jamaicensis_flying.jpg)

That was pictures of two of them (or is it the same?), but still don't know which species it is?

Drawing of Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis,
found on http://www.swartzentrover.com/cotor/Photos/Hiking/Birds/BirdPages/Red-tailedHawk.htm
Photo taken from: The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America by David Allen Sibley

Follolwing list has been found on Wikipedia's page about the Red-tailed Hawk

There are at least 14 recognized subspecies of Buteo jamaicensis, which vary in range and in coloration:

B. j. jamaicensis, the nominate subspecies, occurs in the northern West Indies, including Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico
and the Lesser Antilles but not the Bahamas or Cuba.
El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico holds the highest known density of Red-tailed Hawks anywhere. [1]
B. j. alascensis breeds (probably resident) from southeastern coastal Alaska to the Queen Charlotte Islands and
Vancouver Island in British Columbia.[6]
B. j. borealis breeds from southeast Canada and Maine south through eastern Texas and east to northern Florida.
It winters from southern Ontario east to southern Maine and south to the Gulf coast and Florida.[6]
B. j. calurus breeds from central interior Alaska, through western Canada south to Baja California. It winters from
southwestern British Columbia southwest to Guatemala and northern Nicaragua.[6]
Paler individuals of northern Mexico may lack the dark wing marking.[7]
B. j. costaricensis is resident from Nicaragua to Panama. This subspecies is dark brown above with cinnamon flanks,
wing linings and sides, and some birds have rufous underparts.
The chest is much less heavily streaked than in northern migrants (B. j. calurus) to Central America.
B. j. fuertesi breeds from northern Chihuahua to southern Texas. It winters in Arizona, New Mexico, and southern Louisiana.[6]
The belly is unstreaked or only lightly streaked, and the tail is pale.
B. j. fumosus Islas Marías, Mexico
B. j. hadropus Mexican Highlands
B. j. harlani, Harlan's Hawk, is markedly different from all other Red-tails. In both color morphs, the plumage is blackish
and white, lacking warm tones (save the tail). The tail may be reddish, dusky, whitish, or gray and can be longitudinally
streaked, mottled, or barred. Shorter primaries result in wingtips that don't reach the tail in perched birds.
It breeds in Alaska and northwestern Canada and winters from Nebraska and Kansas to Texas and northern Louisiana.[6]
This population may well be a separate species.
B. j. kemsiesi is a dark subspecies resident from Chiapas to Nicaragua.
The dark wing marking may not be distinct in paler birds.[7]
B. j. kriderii is paler than other Red-tails, especially on the head; the tail may be pinkish or white.
In the breeding season, it occurs from southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba,
and extreme western Ontario south to south-central Montana, Wyoming, western Nebraska, and western Minnesota.
In winter, it occurs from South Dakota and southern Minnesota south to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana.[6]
B. j. socorroensis Socorro Island, Mexico
B. j. solitudinus Bahamas and Cuba
B. j. umbrinus occurs year-round in peninsular Florida north to Tampa Bay and the Kissimmee Prairie.[6] It is similar in appearance to calurus
The four island forms, jamaicensis, solitudinus, socorroensis, and fumosus, do not overlap in range with any other subspecies.

6.] Tesky, Julie L.. "Buteo jamaicensis". U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/animals/bird/buja/all.html#DISTRIBUTION%20AND%20OCCURRENCE. Retrieved June 10, 2007.
7.] Howell, Steve N. G.;Sophie Webb (1995).
A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854012-4.

B.j.calurus, British Columbia, Canada
Photo: Rick Leche

So we found the following simple explanation to how to separate the sub-species:

There are up to 16 subspecies (some put it at 7 with a variety of races) of Red-Tails in North America.
There are different colorations, or morphs, adding variety within each subspecies.
The darkest subspecies is called the Harlan's Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis harlani).
The lightest subspecies is called the Krider's Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis kriderii).
Some of the most common are the Eastern (Buteo jamaicensis borealis), the Western (Buteo jamaicensis calurus), Southwestern or Fuertes' (Buteo jamaicensis fuertesi), the Florida (Buteo jamaicensis umbrinus),
and Grennell (Buteo jamaicensis alascensis).
Most all of these birds display a dark patagial mark which is a dark patch in the "underarms".
These birds can be so dark as to appear to be Harris' Hawks or even an almost black-chocolate color,
and there are albino (pure white with red or pink eyes) and leucistic (pure white with blue eyes) colorations as well.

So, its as easy as that. Or - which one is it?
Photo courtesy of Eileen Wicker of Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky Inc.


Life goes still on, but if or when we learn more, we will be back.


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