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ONLINE NEWSLETTER
 
BUTEOS: BUILT FOR SOARING

By Frank Hein

With the exceptions of eagles, the osprey and owls, there are three basic groups of raptors: buteos, falcons and accipiters. Birds of prey are identified scientifically this way for many reasons. But for the aspiring naturalist, grouping them this way helps you quickly identify a flying raptor by viewing its silhouette.

Buteos: Our red-tailed hawk shows the classic buteo look. Basically, buteos are "all wing," and built for soaring. If you’re watching a hawk for more than a minute, and you don’t see it flap even once, you’re probably looking at a buteo. On Catalina, that also means you’re probably looking at a red-tailed hawk, known to science as Buteo jamaicensis. If you see a buteo in flight, its silhouette looks like this:


Buteos other than red-tails sometimes visit us here, but infrequently. You can go to your identification tips from last month’s issue of Island Naturalist (Issue #13 in the column at the right) if you need to confirm a bird as a red-tail. Just remember that the dark patagial marks on the leading edge of the underwings are the most reliable field mark for ID-ing a red-tail. The orange/red tail is present on most adults, but not on juveniles.



Falcons: Speed, Altitude & Attitude

Contributing ongoing support and assistance to this publication are the Conservancy’s Education and Conservation Departments.

Edited by Jerry Roberts
.




THE ISLAND NATURALIST
Issue #14 / Diurnal Raptors II


IN THIS ISSUE...


Buteos: Built for Soaring

Accipiters: Sleek Maneuverability
Fact or Fiction: Falcons Fastest Birds
Did You Know … Raptors’ Sight Superior       





Photo by Jack Baldelli

This classic “all wing” shot of a buteo is of a red-tailed hawk in flight over Catalina. Note the dark horizontal patagial marks on the leading edge of the wings. This bird happens to have a red tail, but not all red-tailed hawks do.



Missed recent issues?
Issue #1 / All About Bison

Issue #2 / All About Birds

Issue #3 / All About Plants
Issue #4 / All About Eagles
Issue #5 / All About Ravens & Crows
Issue #6 / All About Natives & Invasives  
Issue #7 / All About Rain
Issue #8 / All About Bison Roundup
Issue #9 / All About Foxes
Issue #10 / All About Weeds
Issue #11 / All About Eagle Hatchlings
Issue #12 / All About Snakes
Issue #13 / All About Diurnal Raptors

 

 

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