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Birds of North America, Vagrant Visitors, Introduced Birds and Possibilities

White-tailed Hawk

Buse à queue blanche

Buteo albicaudatus

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Species; The White-tailed Hawk (Buteo albicaudatus), is a Texas rarity, seen only in the South-eastern corner of the state, being the most northerly extension of their population. Can be observed from Southern Argentina, north through South America, into Central America and Mexico. Prefers to perch when hunting, seen along highways perched on utility poles, fence post and trees. Has been known to patrol the perimeters of grass fires, preying on small animals, reptiles and large insects feeing from the burn.

Distinctions; Male and females are similar, has a light and dark morph, light morph has grey backs and heads. Long wings, mostly white underneath, black wing tips, dark tailing edge of under wings. Large rufous wing patch, seen both, when perched or flying. White tail, above and below, black subterminal band with white tail tip. As many as four yearly cycles, before reaching mature plumage. Juvenile has dark coloured body, noticeable multi-bands on tail, strong streaking on breast.

Voice; Similar to other hawks' cries, sounds like ke-ke-ke.

Nesting; Two to three white eggs, one brood per year. Nest built off the ground, usually on a small sturdy tree or shrub in an open landscape, with a view of the surrounding areas, constructed with branches, twigs, grasses and other plant materials.

Birds of North America
B L W W W Family Latin Name
20" 50.8cm 51" 129.5cm 2.3lb. 1kg Accipitridae Buteo albicaudatus

  • Summer
  • Year Around
  • Winter

Distribution; Texas population does not migrate, locally present around Brownsville, situated in the extreme south-east corner of Texas, branching out into the open semi-arid scrub lands. 200 and more nesting pairs have been identified in surveys, population appears stable.

References to Other Bird Sites:

Avibase - the world bird database

ABA - American Birding Association

AOS - The American Ornitholgy Society

ABC - American Bird Conservancy

eBird - TheCornellLab of Ornithology

NA - National Geographic

NAC - National Audubon Society

Classic Collection of North American Birds