Zone-tailed Hawk

Florence Sanchez

This morning shortly after 11 a.m. I had a Zone-tailed Hawk on Farren Road. I stopped to check out an apparent Turkey Vulture on the way up to the first turn-out but found it was a Zonetail!  I lost sight of the bird momentarily as it flew over the road but saw it again circling over the field to the east just past 500 Farren Road.  From there it dropped down over Rancho Embarcadero.  I called Nick Lethaby who lives near-by; he in turned called Brad Hacker.  About 5 minutes later, the Zonetail reappeared in a flock of 5 Turkey Vultures just up the road.  Then the whole flock dispersed to the east and I lost sight of it.

I stayed up there until almost 12:30, along with Nick, Brad, and eventually, David and Linda Blue, but it had not reappeared.  I suggest looking for the bird over West Goleta and the foothills, especially where Turkey Vultures are known to roost.

This bird was an adult (or near-adult), showing white bands on the tail, more evident from below than from above. The wing linings are black and the wing feathers slight barred,  Seen from below, there are some lighter feathers near the wingtips.  In flight, the wings are held at a slight dihedral and there is some rocking like a Turkey Vulture, but the tail is not wedge shaped and the larger head is evident.  With Turkey vultures, the Zonetail appears slightly slimmer, espeially in the wings.

Florence Sanchez

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