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In The Crossley ID Guide, this plate of the Eastern Red-shouldered Hawk appears opposite an equally gorgeous and informative plate for the Florida variant of the Red-shouldered Hawk allowing for easy comparison of their identifying features and subtle differences.
Eastern Red-shoulders are found in swampy woodland in summer but seen along field edges in winter. They take flight less frequently than most raptors, remaining perched for long periods waiting for prey. 1st-years are brown on top and pale below with dark streaks on the underbody. The tail is banded brown and blackish, but fairly indistinct, and usually the brown bands are narrower than the blackish ones, showing hint of the adult tail pattern. All ages and races have unique, pale, commashaped, translucent “windows” on the outer primaries that show up from below and above. The primary commas are white on adults and buffy on 1st-years. Adults are gorgeous, with striking black-and-white banded flight and tail feathers, rufous underparts, and rufous upperwing coverts or “shoulders”!