[Mnbird] Interesting raptor seen this morning-help needed with ID

Arjun Guneratne guneratne at macalester.edu
Wed Dec 25 13:48:47 CST 2019


Hello Minnesota birders,

I need help with this ID. Any opinions on what this could be?

This morning, I was driving down Montreal Avenue through the Highland Golf
Course when my daughter spotted this large raptor perched on the ground by
the road, tearing at something. We stopped and I took several photographs.
My first thought was that it was a leucocistic Red-tailed Hawk but there
are several points that don't fit with that ID, including that it seemed a
bit bigger and chunkier than RTHA.  The other possibility is that it is a
(possibly leucocistic) Ferruginous Hawk —which would be amazing. Anything
else it could be? See the photos below/attached.

Here's my case for RTHA:
-most likely candidate
-it has a red-tail

but could it be Ferruginous Hawk?
-legs aren't visible in any of my photos, but the upper legs are heavily
feathered.
-there is no indication of a dark belly band (although if it is a
leucocistic RTHA, that might explain it). Might not be visible from the
angle I saw it.
-bill very large relative to size of head
-my impression that it was larger than RTHA; quite a beefy looking bird.
-Hard to see the extent of the gape, but it seems to reach to below about
the midpoint of the eye
-the cere is yellow (this seems to be consistently the case with FEHA, less
so with RTHA, going by images on the web)

Here's an image of FEHA that looks something like this bird in shape:
https://twitter.com/badlandsnps/status/793612380689338369

Help with this ID would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


[image: Image 1.jpg]
[image: Image 2.jpg]


-- 
Arjun Guneratne
Professor of Anthropology
& Director of Asian Studies
Department of Anthropology
Macalester College
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