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Raptor Pitfalls #1

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Saturday, October 29, 2011 

There are pitfalls in all aspects of bird identification, and raptors are certainly no exception. I want to share some pitfalls from time to time (or as often as I can) that I overhear birders falling into. This discussion is in regards to juvenile Goshawks being known as the only accipiter in N.A. to have markings on the undertail coverts. Yes, Goshawks almost always show this, but some juvenile Sharpies and Cooper's Hawks can show streaking on the undertail coverts (see CH photos above, "click" to enlarge).

 In Cooper's Hawks, this occurs on birds in the West much more often than on birds in the East. Out West, Cooper's tend to be more heavily marked underneath as well. Also, there are juvenile Goshawks that are lightly marked on the underbody and lack markings to the undertail coverts. Just a note to be made aware of, and something my buddy Pete Gustas and I have talked about recently.

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3 Comments:
Anonymous Pete Gustas said...

Excenent photos to learn from. Thanks for this post Jerry,you are always pushing the envelope!

October 30, 2011 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

I wish I could get 1/10th as many good photos of raptors in flight as you Jerry! Awesome as always--and great information to boot!

October 31, 2011 at 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Thanks Tim and Pete! Very nice to hear, and makes me want to post more often.

October 31, 2011 at 1:18 PM  

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