Raptors really can be difficult to identify unless you’re a true expert! This post is a correction of last night’s description of what we believed was a Gray-headed Kite (Leptodon cayenensis) at the house of friends John and Milena Beer in nearby Santa Rosa the other day. Thanks to expert guide Steven Easley of Birdfinders http://www.birdfinders.co.uk/, we now know that this is actually a Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus) making a meal of an unfortunate Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata). Many thanks for the correction Steven!
This is a raptor found country-wide, but all my previous sightings have been of birds in flight. Field guide illustrations do not entirely match John’s photo, but this merely underlines the difficulty with raptors, which often have highly variable plumage.
The incident caused commotion in the bird world too: