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need help with buteo ID


I was in my yard this morning (between Conway and Aynor, SC) when a large
bird flew into my pecan tree at high speed and perched on a low limb.  It
was apparently taking a breather while being pursued by a mockingbird that
perched nearby.  It stay about a minute while I watched from about 25 feet
with unaided eye.  When it left in its original direction, it was at high
speed with the mockingbird still chasing.  It flew beneath the pine canopy
- through the trees.

>From the size, I expected this to be a crow, but it wasn't.  It was a very
dark buteo - the darkest I've ever seen, almost black.  The underside of
the tail was banded (but I can't say thick or thinly).  Other than the
lighter bands on the tail, there were two more light spots on this bird -
(1) the "bridge of the nose" was light, and (2) where the bare legs of the
bird connected to the body were small areas that were light with reddish
streaking - sort of like you'd see on a conventionally plumaged
Red-shouldered Hawk's breast.

I only got views of this bird perched and flying away from me.

I looked in Sibley where I see dark morph Broad-wingeds are "very rare"
east of the Great Plains.  So what about a Short-tailed hawk?  Too small to
be a Zone-tailed.  What about a strange Red-shouldered?

I don't see anything exactly like this bird in any of my books - especially
about the light areas at the legs.

If you can help, I certainly appreciate it.

As an aside - last Friday I saw some good "jail birds" soaring over the J.
Ruben Long Detention Center near my house - 6 Wood Storks.


Stephen Thomas
Aynor, SC