This Zone-tailed Hawk is a juvenile

When I looked more closely with my spotting scope at this Zone-tailed Hawk at El Zacatel, I could see it was in juvenal plumage. The bottom pic shows the tail up close so the dark irregular bands on the dorsal (upper) surface are visible. And on the far left of the tail feathers is one tail feather showing the ventral (lower) surface that whitish with dark black bands (only 2 visible). Note the 2 wingtips that are showing below the tail feathers, another feature of this species is their wings being very long. Also note the jaggedness of the tail feathers--I also saw this on the juvenile I followed as it perched and roosted at Frontera Audubon. I suspect this is the same juvenile bird because this location is less than 10 miles from Frontera, well within range for foraging for such raptors, and the ragged tail feathers would be consistent.
The bottom pic (head is turned away from camera so viewing back of head) shows white on it's head, lots of white showing because the wind blew the feathers on it's head and nape apart. Researching this I found that Birds of North America online states that this species in juvenile plumage has "...white bases of feathers of at least part of head and upper body more or less exposed...." This bird clearly has a lot of head feathering that has a whitish base. Interestingly Raptors of Western North America says, "Head is black or has a variable amount of white mottling on the nape and hindneck." (p. 309)-I am not sure why there is this difference in these sources but this bird clearly has white bases to it's head feathers. SeEtta


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