Today I am sharing some of the raptors we saw on a birding adventure in Florida. The collection includes the Burrowing Owl, the Florida subspecies of the Red-shouldered Hawk and the Black Vulture.
The Burrowing Owl is an interesting character that does not fit our stereotypes. Our literature is full of owls. They are the wise, stealthy, mysterious creatures that hunt at night, flying silently and swooping down to take its prey. The burrowing owl lives in burrows under the ground. They are comical to watch as they stand outside their burrow staring with eyes wide open, twisting their head back and forth like R2-D2 of Star Wars. They can fly to hunt but they also watch and attack or walk while hunting. They forage by day or night and eat invertebrates, insects and sometimes a mouse or shrew.
The Black Vulture is a smaller cousin to the Turkey Vulture found along the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states of the United States as well as Mexico, the Caribbean and extreme northern South America. The Black Vulture has a gray head and its wings are all black except for a very large section of white at the end of the wing. In contrast, the Turkey Vulture has a red head and its wings are white along the underside trailing edge.
The Florida subspecies, called extimus of the Red-shouldered Hawk is a paler colored bird than the western group, called the eleganz, we see here in Northern California.
Info from: Cornell Labs All-About-Birds and the Stokes Field Guide to Birds of North America.
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