Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Red-tailed Hawk's beak...

In the previous post, I talked about a Peregrine Falcon's beak and the notch that forms the tomial tooth (click here for that post). I received lots of emails and comments from people saying they had never noticed the notch and was glad I pointed it out, but I also had several emails from readers who couldn't really see the tomial tooth and still thought the hooked beaks of hawks and falcons looked the same, so to help them out, I thought a post on a Red-tailed Hawk's beak would help show the differences...

The outside of this Red-tailed Hawk's beak has the same hook as a falcon's beak, but if you look on the inside, you'll see the hawk lacks the extra notch that forms the tomial tooth (click here to compare with a Peregrine Falcon).

...another difference between hawks and falcons is the supraorbital ridge. Hawks and eagles have a very well-defined "eye brow" (or supraorbital ridge), which is what gives them that fierce and angry look. The ridge is there to help protect the bird's eye from the sun and make it easier for the bird to hunt by shading the eye, which cuts glare. Falcons have a much less defined bony eye ridge, but they do have a dark stripe under their eye (called a malar stripe), which cuts glare just like the black stripes football and baseball players apply under their eyes.

...a drawing from my sketchbook of a Red-tailed Hawk's beak. Note that the hawk's beak lacks the extra notch found in the falcon's. You can also see the hawk's more well-defined supraorbital ridge above the eye.

You when look at the hawk and falcon drawings separately, it might still be hard to tell the beaks apart, so I decided to combine a section from both drawings to easily compare the two beaks at the same time...

...sketches comparing a falcon and a hawk's beak.

...this gorgeous Red-tailed Hawk's name is Scarlet, and she is another bird from RAPTOR, Inc. (click here for the other posts in the RAPTOR, Inc. series). Scarlet came to RAPTOR with a left wing fracture in November of 2003.

p.s. Artists...feel free to use these photos as reference shots. It's so hard to get close-ups of raptors in the wild, so attending a RAPTOR, Inc. event is a great way to boost your reference library. Being around captive birds lets you study and learn their subtleties. Click here to learn more about RAPTOR, Inc.

19 comments:

holdingmoments said...

Great close ups again Kelly.
A fascinating study of the different beaks.

Carole M. said...

your photographs and your sketches are first class

Alan Pavey said...

Excellent sketches and pics Kelly, very informative too.

the cuby poet said...

This is so informative and interesting. These photods and drawings are brilliant. Thank you.

Dan Huber said...

Fantastic post Kelly. I love how much detail you notice, makes me go back and look at my pictures and want to resketch the face again.

TexWisGirl said...

wonderfully put together and sketched, too.

Janice K said...

I have learned so much from just visiting your blog....Plus the fact that I enjoy so much your photography. Love it!

Guy said...

Wow Kelly

You put a lot of work into this and made it very clear.

Thanks
Guy

Montanagirl said...

Wonderful photos, Kelly; and your sketches are superb. It's easy to see the difference in the two when comparing your photos and sketches! Your posts are so informative, and I look forward to each and every one!!

Marfa said...

Such beautiful photographs and sketches! ♥ This is very educational, too. We have 2 chickens...going to the backyard to have a look at their beaks!

Jerry said...

Love all the info Kelly plus fabulous photos and sketches - just the kind of post I really enjoy.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hello There, Since I've been away from blogging for a week, I have alot of catching up to do. We had a wonderful trip to Arkansas --but it's great to visit with my blog friends. Hope things are going well with you.

Great pictures of the Red-tailed hawk, Kelly.
Hugs,
Betsy

Gillian Olson said...

Beautiful bird, photos and sketches!

Elaine said...

Good comparison sketch, Kelly, and the shots of the Hawk are lovely. You had such a wonderful opportunity at Raptor, Inc., to get closeups of birds you usually just see in the distance.

Larry said...

Love the close-ups of the RT Kelly! Your scetches are magnificent as always and I want tot thank you for the great info on the raptor's beaks. There is always something new to learn about our avian friends isn't there?

Banjo52 said...

Just tremendous photos and sketches, Kelly. And holy cow, I guess I was actually onto something--or at least not wrong--last post, about your falcon looking less aggressive than his hawk/eagle cousins. So from now on, the falcon is my Buddhist predator. And he wishes he could go veggie, but just isn't up to it. (Like me).

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone. I really enjoyed seeing Scarlet up close. I think I might start working on a painting of her...or at least a sketch for a painting.

The Falconer's Wife said...

Hi - I just came across your blog. Love your illustrations! Feel free to visit anytime http://www.thefalconerswife.com.

Caroline said...

Excellent shots and interesting to learn about those beaks!