White-Tailed Hawk

Geranoaetus albicaudatus
Range Map

In the USA, only Texas hosts White-Tailed Hawks, but they make their homes further south in Mexico, Central and South America as well. These broad-winged hawks are large, and fall in between the larger Red-Tailed and smaller Swainson’s Hawks in size. These birds specialize on small mammal prey in open prairie and grasslands. It is not uncommon to see them hovering over grassy plains in search of their next meal. As adults, these birds are nearly all white when seen flying overhead, but younger birds are mottled with chocolate brown on their wings and bellies.

Science recognises three subspecies of White-Tailed Hawk:

  • G. a. albicaudatus lives in the Amazon basin.
  • G. a. colonus lives in northern South America.
  • G. a. hypospodius lives in Texas, Mexico, Central America, and into northern Columbia.

I met a pair of mature adults in the lower Texas Rio Grande Valley at Palmito Hill during my winter visit in 2021. A month later, near Mission (Texas) I met a juvenile bird.

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