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Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus), Tucson (near Grant & Wilmot Rds.), Pima County

These photos by Dave Stejskal are of what is almost certainly the same Short-tailed Hawk returning to the same east-central Tucson neighborhood where it successfully wintered during Febrary to April, 2008. Last winter's report was Arizona's first for winter and the first documented lowland report for the state.  The bird was photographed again by Clifford Cathers on 3 January 2009. 

Short-tailed Hawk is a very recent colonizer of the state from Western Mexico with most of the accepted records coming from the major mountain ranges in the southeastern corner of the state. Nesting was only recently confirmed (2007) and it remains an A.B.C. review species.

In the first photo of the flying bird taken on 20 Nov., it's clear that the bird now has an adult tail with a more prominent black subterminal band, but the underparts and underwing linings are still quite buffy with a few telltale dark streaks on the sides of the breast, plumage characters that were previously thought to be attributable to juvenile and immature birds only. The second photo of the bird perched, taken on 3 December 2008, shows the same underpart pattern and color and the dark hood is now complete and appears adult-like. Last winter and spring, this same bird (presumably) had pale streaks on otherwise dark cheeks and a noticeable pale supercilium behind the eye.

20 November and 3 December 2008, photos by Dave Stejskal

03 January 2009, photo by Clifford Cathers

05 January 2009, photo by Andrew Core

All photographs copyrightę by the photographer. 

Submitted on 03 December 2008

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