Highlands Raptor

  • Trevor Hardaker
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8 years 9 months ago #11243 by Trevor Hardaker
Trevor Hardaker replied the topic: Re: Highlands Raptor
This one certainly has me scratching my head...

Justin has emailed me these pics privately and after a way too quick glance at them far too late at night, I sent him an answer without really thinking about it only to realise later (thanks to Justin's questions) that I had clearly not thought it through properly and had made a very obvious mistake...

Nevertheless, I am still a little confused by these photos.

European Honey Buzzard - the shape of the bird is clearly not right for this species as the head is not proportionately small enough on that body and the bill also appears too heavy to my mind.

Western Banded Snake Eagle - Apart from the fact that it would be hugely out of range, I don't believe the shape is quite right for this one either. Also, the tail banding that Gordon is referring to is a little suspect. I don't believe that, in the lightened up photo, we are actually seeing tail barring at all. I think the paler area is as a result of a "blown hightlight" on the actual photo imparting the appearance of a broad pale tail bar.

African Cuckoo Hawk - This is not a bad suggestion, but again, I am not totally comfortable with this. The head shape, to my mind, is not quite right. ACH's tend to have rather steep foreheads leading up from the base of the top of the bill which give them quite a distinctive head shape whereas this bird has a much flatter forehead. I also don't think the wings are perhaps long enough for this species. Typically, ACH's wings reach to almost the tip of the tail (or very close to that) whereas this bird's wings end noticeably short of the tail.

As to what I actually believe it is, that is a whole different story. The closest suggestion I can come to at the moment is a juvenile Jackal Buzzard, but I am also still not totally comfortable with that solution. I did promise Justin that I would revert back to him with further comments, but Justin, at this stage, I'm afraid I am going to have still say that I am not totally sure. I will ask a few of my friends for comments as well, but a number of them are away at the moment and I am heading off to Ethiopia on Friday morning, so I will only be able to get back to you on my return. Perhaps by then, the mystery will already be solved...:)

Kind regards

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  • Doug
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8 years 9 months ago #11248 by Doug
Doug replied the topic: Re: Highlands Raptor
We will see what the experts say when they do come back to us but here is my take....

If you look at that tail, unless it is a new bird for the region, it can only be either a Western Banded Snake-eagle or a European Honey-buzzard based on the tail pattern?

One other feature clearly visible in the picture is some fine baring on the flight feathers. If you use that as an additional feature, that would exclude Western Banded Snake-eagle and rather fit the banded race of European Honey Buzzard, not well illustrated/not illustrated at all in our local field guides.

Of course it is a huge risk sticking your neck out on a raptor that even the experts are battling to agree on but if I had to stick my neck out that would be it based on tail pattern and flight feather barring.

Lets wait and see... <!-- s:scratchchin: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/scratchchin.gif" alt=":scratchchin:" title="Perplexed" /><!-- s:scratchchin: -->

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