.... and in my maiden message... straight into the fick of things!!
I did like the idea of an African Hawk-Eagle until I noticed that the bird in the pic doesn't have trousers!! All eagles have trousers! I got out all my books (and Roberts MultiMedia) and every pic and photo shows the AHE to have trousers. (Mgoddard's raptor also appears a bit chunky to be an AHE).
I don't think that it is an African Harrier-Hawk either - I'm not sure that there is enough bareness on the face and AHH also have scrawny little legs. Mgoddard's raptor has strong legs. I think that the general shape is wrong too.
That's my R0.02c worth.
Yes , welcome indeed , Ian! It’s nice with new voices on the forum.
Hmm , black sparrowhawk is certainly a more likely candidate than african harrier-hawk in my opinion , but I think your reason for discarding african hawk eagle is wrong , Ian and Imberbe. It’s true that the eagles and hawk eagles have feathered legs , but , as mentioned several times in this debate , the tarsi can be only lightly feathered (sometimes called “leggings” as opposed to “trouser”) on some species and in some plumages. This character can be hard to see from a distance or in poor quality photos such as these , and I just interpret them differently than you guys. I’ve tried to enhance the photos of this bird , and even if it remains very difficult to say anything for sure , I think I can spot a slight colour difference between the foot (yellowish) and tarsus (beige) , and I even think I can see the separation line.
So why else isn’t it a BS? Well , Lizet has mentioned some of the problems , and I just have this to add:
A young BS should be quite prominently dark streaked on the body , and even if we see this bird from the back , that character should definitely be possible to see on these photos.
The legs are much to powerful for a BS , in my opinion. BS actually has pretty slender legs - even compared to AHH (!) - which is fairly easy to verify by doing an image Google search on that species.
Finally I think the proportions are just wrong for BS or any other sparrowhawk for that matter. This bird is fairly compact rather than long and slender , and the tail extension beyond the wingtips is to short for BS.
I still think this is an AHE but it would be much appreciated if anyone could tell me how to separate it from a young ayre’s hawk eagle. My African field guides are sadly lacking when it comes to identifying raptors in juvenile and immature plumages , and for a number of species it is also difficult to find good photos on the internet. Therefore it was very interesting to see you mentioning a new South African raptor guide , Lizet! I just tried to check out Amazon , but they don’t have it… - yet , I hope.