For the fourth straight year, a Short-tailed Hawk with atypical plumage has overwintered in Tucson (

In 2007, Helen and Noel Snyder, Narca Moore-Craig, Rose Ann Rowlett and I photographed and studied a Short-tailed Hawk nest (Buteo brachyurus) in the Chiricahua Mountains, a part of the Sky Islands region of the Southwest. The majority of Short-tailed Hawks observed in the Sky Islands have been light-morph birds, including the individuals at the nest we photographed. This is in contrast with Florida, where dark-morph individuals predominate. Our article on the Nesting of Short-tailed Hawks in the Southwest is currently in press (, with an expected publication date of early 2011.

Rich is making several large JPGs available for those interested in comparing the plumage of the typical light-morph Short-tailed Hawks with the atypical plumage of the Tucson bird. These images may not be re-posted without written authorization. The basis for the atypical plumage of the Tucson Short-tailed Hawk is currently uncertain.


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