On the last Friday, we stopped at the bridge near the Carara biological reserve on the Pacific coast to look at the crocodiles. This juvenile zone-tailed hawk circled low overhead. Its wing pattern is similar to the Turkey Vulture, a ploy to enable it to get close to unsuspecting prey, which assume it is a harmless Turkey Vulture. Dark morph Swainson's hawk and Short-tail hawk need to be ruled out in the identification of this bird.
Unlike the juvenile which has a barred tail, the adult Zone-tailed hawk has a distinct tail band as shown in the pictures below taken at Manuel Antonio. The long wings, relatively long tail and short legs (see position of feet relative to tail in bottom photo) distinguish this bird from Mangrove Black Hawk.
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