A Rare Sighting: A Young Krider’s Hawk

While driving the auto tour road (11-22-22) at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, I spotted a young Red-tailed Hawk perched high in a tree. At first glance, it looked like a typical Red-tailed Hawk, but something about its plumage seemed different.

The Hawk was sitting on a dead limb on the backside of a tall tree, initially facing away from me. I waited patiently for it to turn, hoping to get a clear view and a photo. After a few minutes, the Hawk finally heard the calls of another bird near the water and turned to investigate. That’s when I was able to snap the photo I’m sharing today.

Young Krider's Hawk
Young Krider’s Hawk

When I sent the photo to my friend Mia McPherson, an experienced bird photographer, she identified this Hawk as a Krider’s Red-tailed Hawk, a lighter-colored subspecies found primarily in the plains states. Unlike most Red-tailed Hawks which have a dark belly band, adult Krider’s Hawks have a white belly and pale feathers underneath. Their tails may also show some orange or pink tinting.

I feel fortunate to have spotted this special hawk in the wild. As a wildlife photographer, moments like this remind me why I love what I do. Getting to observe and photograph rare species, like this young Krider’s, are the most rewarding aspects of my work. I’m thrilled to have captured this hawk in its natural habitat and to be able to share its beauty with all of you. Let me know in the comments if you’ve seen one of these rare beauties in your own travels!

Krider’s Hawk: A Subspecies of Red-tailed Hawk

Krider’s Hawk, or Krider’s red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis kriderii), is a subspecies or color morph of the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). It is named after John Krider, the gunsmith from Philadelphia who collected the type specimen, which is preserved in the collection of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

Physical Characteristics

Krider’s Hawk is paler than other red-tailed hawks, with a typically white head and variable dark markings about the face. The upperparts are light brown, and the upper-wing coverts are heavily mottled white. The tail is typically whitish at the base of the adults, otherwise a fairly pale pink rufous. Adult Krider’s hawks are distinctly all white underneath with no trace of a belly band.

Geographic Range and Habitat

Krider’s Hawk is native to North America, with a range extending from the Bahamas and the West Indies to the mountains of western Panama. It is widespread in the United States, favoring open country such as open fields and woodlands, and often perching on poles, power lines, and treetops.

In summary, Krider’s Hawk is a distinct subspecies or color morph of the red-tailed hawk, characterized by its paler plumage and distinct geographic range and habitat preferences.

Image Information:

  • Date: 11/22/22
  • Time: 10:45 AM
  • Camera: Canon EOS R7
  • Lens: Canon RF 800mm F11
  • ISO: 1600
  • Aperture: 11
  • Shutter: 1/3200
  • Exp. Comp.: 0
  • Lens (mm): 800
  • Program Mode: Manual

1 thought on “A Rare Sighting: A Young Krider’s Hawk”

  1. WOW!
    How exciting!
    What a beautiful bird!
    So glad you got, and shared, a photo and that Mia helped with the ID.

    I’ll keep looking and struggling with IDs

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