White-tailed Hawk /aguililla cola-blanca (Buteo albicaudatus)
Status: Uncommon, local resident of the Lower Rio Grande Valley from the mid-valley east to the coastal plain. Fairly common on US 77 just north of the Valley between Armstrong and Raymondville.
Habitat: Coastal savanna and associated loma (clay dune woodland) mottes; often concentrate around mid-Valley sugar cane fields in winter, especially during burning and harvest.
Best Spots: Along a 50-mile stretch of US 77 just north of Raymondville to Armstrong; along highway 100 east of Los Fresnos to Port Isabel; along HW east of Brownsville; sugar cane fields in mid-Valley from Mission to Harlingen, commonly seen on the power poles lining New Carmen road as you approach park entrance.
Similar Species: Adult White-tailed Hawk most closely resembles Swainson’s Hawk, but is stockier and has white tail, no breast band, and pointed wings. Juveniles and 2nd-year birds differ from Swainson’s by having a light tail, white breast patch, and dark leading edge of wing; differ from “Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk by dark flight feathers, light tail, and wing shape (pointed wing tips).
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All Bird call recordings © John C. Arvin.
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Nine Unique Locations
A Birder's Eye View of the Seasons in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
Welcome to a birder’s eye view of the seasons in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Enjoy our annual cycle! The resulting avifauna in deep South Texas is the most diverse north of the Mexican border. The four county area that makes up the lower Rio Grande Valley has recorded over 500 species of birds. This is more species of birds than have been recorded in all but two or three entire states. Small wonder that birders from across the continent make pilgrimages to the region. Happy Birding!
Birds Check List
What is a checklist?
A "Bird Checklist" is a complete list of birds that have been seen or heard in a specific region like Texas or the Rio Grande Valley. Checklists can be used as a personal diary of your travels.
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Checklists by site: