An interesting Ferruginous Hawk

Ferrugunios Hawk, the “Regal Eagle,” a magnificent bird and a species I never see often enough. Though the light morph birds are beautiful, I am always amazed at the beauty of intermediate/dark morph birds. The rufous tones to the dark plumage is always striking to me. The dark plumage also always seems to make them look bigger. One individual in the Parker Valley that has been present for the past two years has been reported as a Golden Eagle a couple of times, it looks that big! Most dark birds that are seen are actually intermediate or rufous morphs and not true dark morphs which make up roughly 1% of the population, while intermediate morphs make up ~5% (Wheeler 2003).

This winter there have been a few around the Parker Valley, including the returning dark intermediate morph bird on Wilson Rd, but we have not had the large numbers of birds being reported around Yuma this winter, e.g. 50+ birds reported in a day by Henry Detwiler. However on 17 Feb Lauren Harter and I, along with Steve Ganley and Larry Norris, saw this unusual individual in the southern Parker Valley by Navajo Rd. The bird was interesting with a gray head and grayish wash to the chest, and very rufous underparts. Lauren had seen this same individual last winter in the same area, but was unable to adequately photograph it. This is the only such bird we have seen, and I was only able to find one photo like it on the internet and none in our references. I was able to get a few photos, though the bird did not allow close approach as seems typical of the species.

This inermediate morph Ferruginous Hawk was quite striking with the strong dark rufous tones. Here you can see the rufous tones to the upper wing coverts. Note also the gray tail, and the long wings. This individual was in the southern Parker Valley 17 Feb, 2013. Copyright (c) 2013 David Vander Pluym

This intermediate morph Ferruginous Hawk was quite striking with the strong dark rufous tones. Here you can see the rufous tones to the upper wing coverts. Note also the gray tail, and the long wings. This individual was in the southern Parker Valley 17 Feb, 2013. Copyright (c) 2013 David Vander Pluym

This Ferruginous Hawk shows a contrasting bib (with some white), strongly rufous belly and flanks. Note the all feathered tarsus. This individual was in the southern Parker Valley 17 Feb, 2013. Copyright (c) 2013 David Vander Pluym

This Ferruginous Hawk shows a contrasting gray bib (with some white) and strongly rufous belly and flanks. Note the all feathered tarsi. This individual was in the southern Parker Valley 17 Feb, 2013. Copyright (c) 2013 David Vander Pluym

The gray head on this Ferruginous hawk indicates that it is probably a male. The head contrasted with the darker breast which in turn contrasted with the rufous belly. Note also the long gape. This individual was in the southern Parker Valley 17 Feb, 2013. Copyright (c) 2013 David Vander Pluym

The gray head on this Ferruginous Hawk indicates that it is probably a male. The head contrasted with the darker breast which in turn contrasted with the rufous belly. Note also the long gape. This individual was in the southern Parker Valley 17 Feb, 2013. Copyright (c) 2013 David Vander Pluym

-DVP

Literature Cited:
Wheeler, Brian. 2003. Raptors of Western North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Advertisements

About David Vander Pluym

Birder biologists currently living and working in the Lower Colorado River Valley. When not out in the field I spend a lot of my time reading and writing about birds. I have always been drawn to areas under birded and species that we know little about.
This entry was posted in Identification, La Paz County, LCRV and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s