Bicolored Hawk, sitting pretty

An uncommon or even rare raptor according to the guide books, yet this small, bird-eating hawk makes fairly frequent appearances in our area. For once the name is a good clue to its physical appearance because the adult bird (identical in both sexes) shows a clear and very neat-looking distinction between its dark-grey upperparts and its light-grey, almost white, underparts – hence the Bicolored Hawk (Accipiter bicolor). It ranges from south-eastern Mexico in the north down to northern Chile and Argentina.

Hawk, Bicolored, side, Aquiares

Bicolored Hawk – a side view; photo by John Beer

The rufous thighs are highly distinctive but not always easy to see. Today’s bird, in the coffee fields at Aquiares, perched very cooperatively and had still not flown off when we ourselves had to leave, but a clear view of the chestnut-coloured leggings was not to be had until he needed to scratch an itch:

Hawk, Bicolored, rufous thigh, Aquiares (2)

Bicolored Hawk briefly flashes one rufous thigh; photo by John Beer

He did give us another very brief glimpse of just one of the rufous leggings:

Hawk, Bicolored, rufous thigh, Aquiares

A rear view, with protruding rufous thigh; photo by John Beer.

To finish this brief post, here is a front view…

Hawk, Bicolored, front, Aquiares

Adult Bicolored hawk looking very focussed – front view; photo by John Beer

—and a rear view with a change of colour:

Hawk, Bicolored, back, Aquiares

Breast looks snow-white here when compared to the dark-grey back.

Upon reflection I realise that here in our village of San Antonio, and despite our general lack of heavy forest, I have recorded the Bicolored Hawk more times than any other raptor with the exception of the very common Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris), which can be seen or heard here virtually every day. So if you want to see this otherwise rare hawk, Turrialba is the place to be!

Hawk, Roadside (CATIE)

Common but beautiful, the Roadside Hawk, here seen at CATIE, Turrialba; photo by John Beer

As you can see, distinguishing Bicolored from Roadside is definitely not a problem!



3 thoughts on “Bicolored Hawk, sitting pretty

  1. Looks like you guys are seeing some pretty cool birds down there. I saw the Swainsons Thrush up here the first part of Sept. So they’re making good time!


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