Long-legged vs Steppe Buzzard

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11 years 9 months ago #1039 by Doug
Doug created the topic: Long-legged vs Steppe Buzzard
One of the differences between these two species is the longer-winged profile of Long-legged vs Steppe.
These two profiles taken from actual photos highlights the difference. Although slight, once you are very familiar with Steppe Buzzard's Shape, you should see it.

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11 years 8 months ago #1229 by Doug
Doug replied the topic: Long-legged Buzzard - be very very careful!
Hi All.

After doing some reading, I had built up a few tips from other websites together with some excellent advice from Trevor.

The net result is that I think the only reliable way to tell Long-legged from Steppe Buzzard is to be very familiar with Steppe Buzzard and then to go on shape almost exclusively. The tips I have collected were as follows.

1) The white base to the primaries creates a white "flash" in the wings as the bird flies.

2) The uperwing coverts tend to be lighter in colour whereas in Steppe Buzzard, the upperwing tends to be uniform in colour.

3) When perched, the paler rump of Long-legged Buzzard is obvious.

There were others as well, but these were the three of greatest interest with what I am about to relay.

Gordon and I went for a birding walk through Delta Park. We came across a Steppe Buzzard. Now at this point I am not saying that at any stage did we think it was a long legged buzzrad, but we did note both a very obvious white panel in the upper wing, almost reminicent of a Long-crested eagle it was so clear, and the fore wing was lighter than the rest of the wing due to paler upperwing coverts. It also had noticable lightish edging to the uppartail coverts, creating the impression of a light rump.

The rest of the bird of flight, shape and everythig else was Steppe Buzzard and it had the classic tail which was very light rufous - almost peach coloured, which in flight appeared unbarred due to bright light on it, but once settled, had deffnite fine barring and the obvious broad sub-terminal band - Steppe buzzard 100%. The bird we saw, when it flew, was the classic streaked appearance with the slightly paler underwing coverts as noted in the photo Sion posted of a 2nd Year Steppe Buzzard.

We did bump into Geoff Lockwood and mentioned the bird we had see just in terms of having some of the charachteristics mentioned for Long-legged Buzzard and that it seems feather marking is not the way to go. He was in agreement saying that Steppe Buzzard is so amazingly variable that honsetly, gettting to know the bird well is the only reliable way to eventually spot a Long-legged Buzzard. We later saw the bird soaring overhead and Geoff Looked up and we were all in agreement - Steppe Buzzard.

In short... be extremely careful when sticking your head above tha parrapets claiming a long-legges buzzard. We were not confused by this bird having done some extensive research, but I just noted that it had a lot of features that would normally, according to some notes, suggest Long-Legged Buzzard. I thought I would just point out what a tough prospect ever conclusively ID'ing an LLB woud be.

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