[CT Birds] Probable Dark Morph Broad-winged Hawk

streatham2003 at aol.com streatham2003 at aol.com
Thu Nov 17 16:12:40 EST 2011

Hi Scott, Bill et al

An interesting report. Ligouri suggests strongly that shape is the key factor in identifying dark morph hawks as plumage can be so similar, so that certainly counts as a positive in your sighting. If lighting was anything like it was here this morning (all day in fact) it's not surprising you didn't pick up details on the underwing which would support your ID but also suggests that you need to be careful with other plumage details that were observed. Lighting is an important factor for all hawkwatchers to consider - it's amazing what harsh light or late day/early morning light will do to the appearance of a bird.

Weighing against the sighting of a dark morph Broadie would be that they are exceptionally uncommon here in the east as you probably know. I think Quaker has maybe one record and even Braddock Bay where they have 30k Broadies on average a season has only a handful of records (we didn't observe one in the circa 70k birds I counted this spring). I would also think the date would count against the likelihood of seeing a Broadie of any morph as well, but it has been a weird year. I'm wondering why you haven't ruled out something more prosaic such as a dark morph Rough-legged (the 'common' dark morph buteo out east) seeing as you went through other possibilities - though not always illustrated that way in standard guides their tale patterns can often have the same black and white banding pattern that an adult dark Broad-winged would show and descibed in your report. Nicely illustrated in this shot of a bird taken by Bob Marcott in the Braddock area: http://php.democratandchronicle.com/blog/birds/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/roughlegdarkdoug.jpg 

Anyway an interesting siting - I don't think the ARCC ever look at morphs or subspecies which I kind of think is a shame in some scenarios so the final decision rests with you guys. 

Luke Tiller Greenwich


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