White-tailed Hawk

Buteo albicaudatus

Order

FALCONIFORMES

Family

Kites, Eagles and Hawks (Accipitridae)

Code 4

WTHA

Code 6

BUTALC

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The White-tailed Hawk has a very large range that includes southeastern Texas, much of Mexico, parts of Central America, the southern Caribbean, and open habitats in most South American countries. This non-migratory bird frequents tropical grasslands and other open habitats with scattered trees and bushes. It often hovers when searching for the small mammals, birds, and lizards it preys upon and will take advantage of brush fires to catch animals feeling from the flames. This species has a very large range with a large population and has an IUCN conservation rating of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

White-tailed Hawk: Large hawk, dark gray upperparts and head, distinct brown wash on shoulders and back, and white rump. Breast is white; belly and undertail are white with inconspicuous, fine bars. Wings are dark gray above, paler below. Tail is white, broad black band near tip. Yellow legs, feet.


Range and Habitat

White-tailed Hawk: Resident species, ranging from southern Texas south along the Gulf Coast of Mexico to central Argentina and occurs locally along the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Species also occurs on some southern Caribbean islands. Preferred habitats include open, semi-open, or thinly forested country.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"ke"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The White-tailed Hawk has the widest latitudinal distribution (29°N to 44°S) of any Buteo and has successfully colonized several Caribbean islands.
  • Its white tail with a black band near the tip is unique amongst North American hawks.
  • Unlike most Buteo hawks, the wing feathers of a perched adult extend noticeably beyond the tail. A juvenile bird has a tail up to 15% longer than an adult, and its wing feathers barely surpass the tip of its tail.
  • A group of hawks has many collective nouns, including a "boil", "knot", "spiraling", "stream", and "tower" of hawks.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for White-tailed Hawk

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Irina Rud-Volga

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
RumpX
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X