So I took this picture of a bird that was sitting just outside my workplace a few weeks ago:

enter image description here

At first I searched the internet for raptors in California and found the Cooper's hawk. It looked so much like this bird so I thought that must be it and left it at that. However I just recently came across this bird and also this recent hawk identification question and they both look very similar to my bird as well. So I realized I don't know what to look for when trying to identify this bird.

Does anyone know what this raptor could be?

If it helps, the specific location was the city of Tustin in Orange County, California (Southern California). It is about 10 miles from the coast.

  • $\begingroup$ where in California? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ @VanceLAlbaugh Southern California. Near the coast and part of the Greater Los Angeles Area. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 18:41

1 Answer 1


It is a Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus).

Its breeding range spans eastern North America and along the coast of California and northern to northeastern-central Mexico.

enter image description here

Identifying features:

  1. Presence of dark wings with white spots.
  2. Presence of dark-brownish head, orangish-brown chest.

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