Buteo lineatus, the Red-shouldered Hawk, is a gorgeous bird. Before January I had come across the very red birds of the western United States and the “normal” birds in the eastern part of the country but when I first laid eyes on the pale form of Florida I felt like I was seeing a whole new bird. The pale Red-shouldered Hawks of Florida are, to use just one word, beautiful.
The paler form of Red-shouldered Hawk is one of two subspecies, both, so far as I can figure out, confined to Florida, and mostly south Florida at that. They are Buteo lineatus extimus and Buteo lineatus alleni. I have no idea which subspecies is the one that I spotted, or even if I saw both, but does it really matter? Just look at this bird and tell me that you couldn’t look at it all day.
“Florida” Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus (click to embiggen)
Virtually everywhere I birded during my trip to the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival I would come across at least one or two red-shoulders and each and every time I had to stop and stare. The most cooperative bird was the one that is featured above and in all the close-up shots in this post. It was at the Blue Heron Wetlands in Titusville and it actually perched next to my car and let me digiscope it from my driver’s seat until I took pity on the photographer in the car behind me and moved on to let him have a turn with the amazingly cooperative bird.
Enjoy these shots of Florida Red-shouldered Hawks and get out there and see your own!
The next two shots are of a first-year bird.
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