adult, light phase; dark chest, light belly (California, USA; 2008-03-25)

Swainson's Hawk
Buteo swainsoni

Native Range: North America and Middle America

Notes: a highly variable hawk of open grassland;' comes in several plumage phases including light, dark (melanistic) and various degrees of intermediacy; often migrates in groups, roosting on the ground on in trees at night before continuing the journey the next day by catching thermals and rising high into the sky; such a soaring flock is called a 'kettle'; this species primarily eats small mammals supplemented with large insects such as grasshoppers.

adult, light phase; white underwing areas (California, USA; 2008-03-25)

juvenile, intermediate phase (California, USA; 2008-03-25)

adult, dark phase; melanistic underparts (California, USA; 2008-03-25)

intermediate phase (California, USA; 2008-03-25)

darker version of intermediate phase (California, USA; 2008-03-25)

another intermediate phase bird (California, USA; 2008-03-25)

light or intermediate phase, and dark phase (California, USA; 2008-03-25)

light or intermediate and dark phases (California, USA; 2008-03-25)

light, intermediate, and dark phases (California, USA; 2008-03-25)

several phases, showing extensive variability (California, USA; 2008-03-25)

a large kettle rising on a thermal (California, USA; 2008-03-25)

looking down at photographer (Mexico; 2011-03-25)