(Buteo albonotatus) Impressive and intimidating birds, I think. In the US, If you’re lucky, you can find these guys in various parts of Arizona and New Mexico, and in Southern and West Texas.
If you’re not really sure what you’re looking at, you might mistake these guys for a Turkey Vulture at first glance. They’ve got similar flight styles. So if you’re in their range, you should do some double takes, because Z-taileds are pretty sweet.
Look for the white(ish) bands under the tail when in flight. They’ve also got some gnarly and telling vocalizations that can be sort of ear-piercing. (Above: Adult Zone-tailed has something to say.
Below: This young one had left the nest and was walking around the tree…Female on nest early in the season before the eggs had hatched)
So anyway, this season I knew where two active nests were and had the chance to check on them a couple times. (Very cool). Neither were in great locations for great photos (some of these photos aren’t that full of quality, but cool subjects!), but I was still able to get some good looks at them. And one of the adults would perch close enough for some nice shots.
One of the nests was only about 60-70 meters from a raven nest, so you can imagine how noisy it was in that area. Next year they’ll likely be at the same place (nice), since they reuse old nest sites and both were successful this season. (Below: snagged a photo right before take off)
They usually have two eggs, and a lot of times only one will survive (you know how raptors are…bigger nestlings often kill the weaker ones) but I was really happy that both nestlings from both nests fledged! Good news! (Top to bottom: both nestlings fledged!
This is the nest near the raven nest…from the other nest – not sure if this guy had actually fledged or was just walking around in the tree. New fledgies will come back to the nest for food and hang around the nest for a week or so after fledging.
Look at his monster feet! The middle guy’s sibling was still hanging out in the nest. The world is a scary place. )