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Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)
Birds Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)
Adult Zone-tailed Hawk

General Description: Adult Zone-tailed Hawks (Buteo albonotatus) are all-black hawks with two white bands on the tail. In flight, the trailing side of the wings shows a light background with fine black barring. In younger birds, the white on the tail looks like multiple narrow bands or a single wide band.

Zone-tailed Hawks are part of a group of hawks called Buteos, which includes all members of the genus Buteo and related genera. These hawks are recognized by their long, fairly broad, rounded wings and soaring behavior.

Taxonomy: Accipitriformes, Accipitridae.

Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)
Sub-adult Zone-tailed Hawk

Favored Habitat: Desert riparian canyons, mostly in Arizona, New Mexico, and south into Mexico.

Where to Find: These birds can occasionally be found around Las Vegas, but look for them in the canyons of central and southern Arizona.

Comments: Zone-tailed Hawks are thought to be Turkey Vulture mimics. The wing shape and wing pattern is similar, and they often fly with Turkey Vultures. Small mammals likely get used to seeing harmless Turkey Vultures fly over, so when a flock of Turkey Vultures fly over with one Zone-tailed Hawk mixed in, the prey probably pay less attention to potential danger, thereby giving the hawk an advantage when it dives to catch dinner.

Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus) Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)
Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus) Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)
Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus) Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)
Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus) Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)
Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus) Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)
Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)
Nesting habitat in Nevada
Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)
Nesting habitat in Arizona

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170529

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