The extremes of red-tailed hawk color morphs. White to very, very dark. Both are the same species, Buteo jamaicensis.
The bird on the left has an extreme lack of melanin production and the bird on the right over-produces melanin. Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes, which also produce pheomelanin, which results in a reddish-brown color. Note that the bird on the left has a red tint to her tail even though her melanocytes aren’t functioning normally, this could be due to porphyrins and/or carotenoids contributing to the red color in red-tailed hawk tails as well.
Both birds still exhibit the common trait of being total derps (as demonstrated in the third set of photos).
Found only on the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, these hawks have become extinct on five islands. They prey on invertebrates, small lizards, snakes, and tortoise and sea turtle hatchlings, and also eat carrion and food scraps from humans. Nesting at any time of year, females form groups with several males, breeding with all of them and raising the chicks together in a system known as “cooperative polyandry.” They build nests in low branches or on the ground from grass, bark, leaves, and other materials, reusing them for several years. Classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, they are at risk due to persecution from humans, competition for food with introduced predators, and their small range.