Not sure what kind of Hawk this is

I saw this bird eating a small fuzzy rodent on the ground in a very residential area.  I got close enough to take photos, using both a flash and natural light.  It was six thirty in the evening in Florida.  Being able to get anything using natural light was a surprise.  I am posting both.  I think it is a Cooper’s Hawk due to its behavior, but am thrown but the “leg banding” and almost bandless chest and belly.  I would consider the tail long.  I tried to keep the photos of the prey out of the photos.  We have a member who said he/she is experienced with raptors, so I hope this person joins conversation, although I think other members are also experienced.  I am not.  For anyone new here, click on the photos to enlarge.  -SLB


9 responses to “Not sure what kind of Hawk this is

  1. Red-Tailed Hawk.

  2. Wow, what a wonderful sighting!
    My very amateur guess would be juvenile Red-Shouldered.

  3. I played with both of these ID ideas. My gut said Red-tailed, but you mentioned lack of belly band and, indeed, it seems to not be visible in the photos, but I think that may just be his pose.
    I used Crossley for this one though, and he has a side-view photo of a Red-tailed eating that looks very much like yours, SLB. The leg-banding is heavy, to be sure, but characteristic of a Red-tailed (and of just about any bird out there, the Red-tailed’s plumage is probably the most variable).
    Assuming this is a local resident, my vote is on Red-tailed Hawk; an exciting catch and one of my favorite birds!! 🙂

  4. The iris color looks better for red-tailed, but it’s a little hard to be sure of in these 3 (lovely!) photos.
    Then there’s the ‘first rule of hawks’–ask yourself why it’s not a red-tailed! 😀

  5. I was wondering about the length of the tail.

  6. I’m going to say Red-tailed Hawk, too, although the feathered legs threw me off. Had the prey been shown, it would have been obvious that the feathers didn’t go all the way down to the toes….. there are only three Hawks with feathered legs…..Rough-legged, Ferruginous and Golden Eagle…the first two, not seen in FL and it doesn’t look like an Eagle. So, my vote is for the Red-tailed and an immature one at that.

  7. Definitely an Immature Eastern Red-tailed Hawk. Saw a nearly identical one the other day.

  8. OK, thanks, all.

  9. Love the comment from Diane G. about the Red-Tails (which this is for sure).