White-tailed Hawk Geranoaetus albicaudatus
(aka Buteo albicaudatus)
White-tailed Hawk, Goiás, Brazil, April 2001 - click for a larger image Brazil

The White-tailed Hawk is a raptor of open country that is fairly common and found from the southern USA to Argentina but is not found in the Amazon forest.

It is a large hawk with long wings and its most notable features are the large rust-coloured spot on its shoulder and its white tail with broad black subterminal band.

White-tailed Hawk, Goiás, Brazil, April 2001 - click for a larger image The neck and head are ashy grey and its underparts are very white but with fine barring that you can see on its sides and thighs. The cere is pale green and its feet are yellow.

It can often be seen high up in the sky appearing motionless for minutes on end as it hovers into a strong wind while surveying the ground below for prey. It eats a wide variety of animals ranging from snakes and lizards to rabbits, rats and giant earthworms.

White-tailed Hawk, Goiás, Brazil, April 2001 - click for a larger image In flight from below note the long, pointed wings pinched in at the base towards the rear. These pale morph birds are very white below and the subterminal black tail band is conspicuous.

It is often seen near grass fires where it preys on animals that are flushed by the fire. In some parts of Brazil it is called "Gavião fumaça".

There are illustrations in HBW, Volume 2, Page 178; Sick, Plate 9; and Ferguson-Lees, Plate 64.

White-tailed Hawk, Bahia, Brazil, February 2002 - click for a larger image White-tailed Hawk, Bahia, Brazil, February 2002 - click for a larger image
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