Red-tailed One

Buteo jamaicensisPerched near the edge of Green-Wood Cemetery, a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) surveys the scene. Buteo jamaicensisOne of the classic field marks of this species is the vaguely V-shaped white splotching on the back. Buteo jamaicensisThe band of darker splotches across the belly is another tell. (In the west, things get more complicated ~ there are some vary dark ones out there.)Buteo jamaicensisBut wait, where is this “red tail” noted in the very name of the beast? That, of course, is the tell-all field mark, usually nicely visible when perched or in the air (especially with the sun shining through it). But this bird is under a year old, Class of 2015: a juvenile, or perhaps more accurately given the speed of development, a sub-adult. It takes about a year for the brick-red/russet tail feathers to come in. I would also say that, based on the larger, fully adult bird seen later in the cemetery, that this is a male. In raptors, males are generally smaller.

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