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Zone-tailed hawk        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Zone-tailed hawks are birds of Arizona and Latin America.   They are typically found in mountain forests and canyons, and are famous among birdwatchers for their close resemblance to turkey vultures when in flight.   The overall black plumage, with barred and grayish-looking tail and flight feathers, lead to the similarity -- somewhat marred by the bright yellow feet.   Some speculate this is a form of mimicry that lets zone-tails 'fool' other species and perhaps get closer to prey without alarming them.   However, it doesn't always work, as can be seen in the shot of a raven hassling a zone-tail.   These images were taken of a vagrant juvenile in Escondido, California, out of the species' normal range.   It never came very close and these not very good images are highly cropped.

  • Canon 1D4, 800 mm IS lens (2011)