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Ferruginous hawk (dark morph)        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Ferruginous hawks are the largest of the North American buteos and are characteristic birds of open prairies and plains.   Although they are uncommon and declining in much of their range, many spend the winter in southern California; several of these were photographed at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area.   Ferruginous hawks occur in two color morphs; this is the uncommon dark phase, which can be identified by the legs feathered to the toes, the pale tail, and (in flight) by pale flight feathers.   Juveniles can be recognized by their pale eyes.   The very blackish bird (a newly-fledged juvenile) was photographed in southwestern Wyoming.   Pictures of dark-morph birds in flight are here.
              Photographs of the more typical light-morph ferruginous hawks can be found here.

  • Canon 10D or 1D4, 500 mm f4 IS lens and 1.4X converter or 800 mm IS lens and 1.4X converter (2004, 2014, 2015)
  • Canon EOS1v, 500 mm f4 IS lens and 2X converter, Elite Chrome Extra Color film (2003)