Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Krider's Red-tailed Hawk

Probably the highlight of our Hawk Ridge visit last Sunday was the capture of this very pale Red-tailed Hawk. Chances are that this bird is a Krider's Hawk. Krider's Hawks are perplexing. Apparently they are a pale morph of Red-tailed Hawk that breeds in the Dakotas and Montana. The normal breeding bird in the upper midwest is the western race of the Red-tailed Hawk, which come in three color morphs: dark, intermediate, and light. Krider's Hawks are even paler than light Western Red-tails. Possibly Krider's Hawks are a fourth morph of Red-tailed Hawk arising from birds intermediate between Western and Eastern Red-tailed Hawk races. Whatever a Krider’s Hawk actually is, extreme caution should be used differentiating pale and very pale morphs of Red-tailed Hawks.


  1. Fascinating information, Dan. And a lovely photo!

  2. Krider's nests sparingly in NW Minnesota, though formerly it was much more widespread. There are old records of it breeding from just south of the Twin Cities to the Iowa border and west to the Dakotas. But when the prairies were converted to monoculture wastelands, I suspect the race was pushed out by borealis. Now, I think, it is limited to remnant prairie tracts along the Red River and a few larger WMAs of the state's western counties. There is little recent data, though, as most people pay no attention to this kind of stuff anymore.