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January 25, 2022

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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Return of Bird of the Week: Roadside Hawk

Ubiquitous in Central and South America, and easily seen because it prefers forest edges, including roadsides, it might be the most commonly seen raptor across its range. It’s certainly been a rare trip to the Neotropics that WC hasn’t seen one.

Roadside Hawk trying to dry off after a tropical thunderstorm, Panama

Roadside Hawk trying to dry off after a tropical thunderstorm, Panama

This Roadside Hawk’s effort to dry out nicely displays the rufous patches in the wings and the strong barring in the tail, distinctive field marks for this species.

This is a small raptor, averaging about the size of a Cooper’s Hawk, but with rounded, slightly stubby wings. It’s arguably the smallest Buteo.

Roadside Hawk lunching on a small lizard, Costa Rica

Roadside Hawk lunching on a small lizard, Costa Rica

This species is a generalist, adapting to deserts, rainforests, alpine terrain and everything in between. Its diet is also generalist: insects, reptiles and small mammals. It’s even been known to take fish.

There are a dozen or so subspecies; based on subspecies’ ranges, these would be three different subspecies whon in these three photographs.

Roadside Hawk at dawn Pantanal, Brazil

Roadside Hawk at dawn Pantanal, Brazil

Roadside Hawks are tolerant of humans. Among other indications, they hold on their perches, making them a photographer’s favorite. They are mostly an ambush predators, and have adapted well to urban environments. Their wide range, wide diet and adaptability make them a species of Least Concern.

And it’s always a treat to see them.

For more bird photographs, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

 

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