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Roughies From Above

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Monday, August 1, 2011 

The best way to tell dark-morph from light-morph Rough-legged Hawks from above is that dark birds have all-dark tails (with or without narrow, whitish bands), and light birds have a white base to the tail. Simply...only light birds have the white tail base on top. However, a few light-morph birds have very limited white to the topside of the tail. Note the tail pattern of the light-morph bird on the bottom left compared to typical light-morph tails (middle and right).

I added some dark-morph photos above the light birds per request of Robert. Note the dark topside to the tail on the middle (adult female) and right (juvenile), and the narrow but bold white tail bands on the adult male (left).

Here is a gorgeous photo of a dark juvenile (top) that was taken by my friend Vic Berardi....check out the paler smudgy bands on the top of the tail shown by some dark juvs, and the pale primary "panels" or "windows".

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jerry!

Do you have a Dorsal shot of a dark RL?

Robert Visconti - Lindenhurst, IL

August 2, 2011 at 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Vic Berardi sent me a "crushing" topside photo of a dark Rough-legged last winter. Can I post it Vic?

August 2, 2011 at 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you much Jerry! You didn't waste any time on that updated collage- much appreciated and the difference is obvious.........

Vic's photos are really something aren't they-he has taught me a lot over the years. I hope you get a chance to post his RL.

I've really been enjoying your second book too-the "full page" species images are gorgeous!

Thanks again,

Robert Visconti

August 2, 2011 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger Vic Berardi said...


Yes, absolutely you can post it :-)

This is a great way to show people a distinct difference between light versus dark RL.

Nice pics Jerry!

August 2, 2011 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Vic Berardi said...


Forgot to say thank you :-)

You have some pretty awesome photos yourself!!

August 2, 2011 at 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Robert, thank you for the compliment on "Hawks at a Distance"...fall migration counts are starting soon and I'm hoping to get feedback on it (as long as its positive I guess...).

Vic, thanks for permission to post the pic, I'd want it shown off if it were mine....very jealous!!!

August 3, 2011 at 7:24 AM  

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