Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2007-16

Common name:

Zone-tailed Hawk

Scientific name: Buteo albonotatus
Date: 06/25 and 06/26/2007
Time: 5:00-7:00pm and 11:00am-6:00pm
Length of time observed: From a minute to 30 minutes multiple times.
Number: 2
Age: Adult
Sex: n/a
Location: Kolob Terrace (Kolob Crossing and Blue Springs Reservoir)
County: Washington
Elevation: 7900'
Distance to bird: 8 feet to 500 yards
Optical equipment: 10x42 Nikon binoculars, 20-60x80 Nikon Scope and Canon Camera w/400mm lens
Weather: Sunny and clear both days with a breeze.
Light Conditions: Great lighting.
Description:        Size of bird: Hawk sized.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Hawk shaped
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Black
(Description:)            Bill Type: Hawk-like
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
All black hawks, with yellow feet and mostly yellow bills with a black tip. In flight the birds resembled Turkey Vultures, but showed fine barring in the underwings on the primaries and

The tails had 2 white bars across them.

The birds were only seen flying and the reason I believe there were 2 different birds were looking at the left wings primaries. On one bird, the outer three primaries (P10, P9 and P8) were in good condition and the 4th primary in (P6) was sheared off.

On the other bird, P10 and P9 were in good condition while P8 and P7 were sheared off. The second bird also appeared to be missing at least one tail feather leaving a small gap in the tail.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: Flying and soaring in search of food.
Habitat: Over open fields and a lake as well as cliffs and pine trees at around 7900'. The birds were seen at different locations over two days along a mile stretch of road.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Turkey Vulture:

These birds had black, feathered heads with yellow bills, not to mention yellow feet. The tail stripes along with the underwing barring differ from the pattern of a TV, which has a dark tail and pale, but not barred underwings.

Common Black-Hawk:

The multiple tail stripes, in the tail, along with the underwing barring differ from the Black-Hawk which has a single large white tail band and white tail tip. THe underiwngs are pale, but not barred. Also, Black-Hawk has very braod wings in comparison to the birds I saw.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Had only seen one Zone-tailed Hawk 9 years ago in Arizona. Have seen multiple Black-Hawks, and numerous Turkey Vultures.
References consulted: none
Description from: From memory
Observer: Tim Avery
Observer's address: Salt Lake City, Utah
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: none
Date prepared: 07/14/2007
Additional material: (Photos) Photo 1 (Bird 1), Photo 2 (Bird 2)
Additional Comments: