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Buzzard: Jackal

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Johan van Rensburg
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Buzzard: Jackal

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:55 am

The Jackal Buzzard, Buteo rufofuscus rufofuscus is endemic to Southern Africa.

It is strikingly coloured as an adult. The drabber, lighter-coloured juveniles are often confused with the related Steppe buzzards.

It is widely distributed throughout its range, but is generally found in mountainous country and open plains if there are hills or escarpments nearby and in forested areas with nearby open spaces. It is resident and non-migratory throughout its range, even its food supply related movements are restricted and localised.

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When hunting it pounces or drops on prey from a perch, or from a hover. It can make graceful, controlled descents with wings held high over the back, dropping suddenly on the prey at the last minute. It is often unsuccessful in a hunt. I watched the bird photographed here as it moved from perch to perch where it would sit for a short while observing its surroundings, spot potential prey up to 50 m away then rapidly glide to and pounce on the prey animal. During the time I watched the bird, it failed four times to make a catch, succeeding at the fifth attempt to latch onto a snake.

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The diet of Jackal Buzzard consists mainly of small ground mammals (about 2/3), but snakes, lizards, small ground birds like larks and pipits, insects and road-kill are also taken.

Pairs have noisy aerial displays, including outside the breeding season. It breeds from late-winter to early-summer throughout its range. A stick nest up to 1 m in diameter is built in a tree or on a ledge and is often reused and enlarged in subsequent seasons. Two off-white eggs are laid and incubated by the female only, although food is brought to her on the nest by the male. Sometimes she leaves the nest to fend for herself.

The eggs hatch in about 40 days and after a further 46-51 days the birds fledge. Shortly afterward they become independent of the nest, but young birds may then be seen with the adult pair for some time.
671 Latest lifer: Black coucal

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Re: Jackal Buzzard

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Thu Oct 02, 2008 4:53 pm

They sure are dependable in terms of sticking to an area!

This next shot shows how different a juvenile appears:

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671 Latest lifer: Black coucal

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Re: Jackal Buzzard

Unread postby Mgoddard » Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:37 pm

Guinea Pig wrote:Stunning birds. Saw tons of them in Transkei and the Eastern Cape. They are about as common next to the roads as the little blue Falcons are in Gauteng!


Like this one I saw at Haga Haga (Eastern Cape). Pic not as nice as yours JvR

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3170/294 ... 77e7ce.jpg

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Dreamer » Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:52 am

Hi,
Please can anyone help with this the ID of this bird seen along the Aoub in KTP at the beginning of this month?
SO has been wondering if not perhaps a Juvenile Ovambo Sparrowhawk ?
Image

Looking forward to your replies, thanks :D
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Haplo » Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:46 am

Dreamer,

hmmmm.... you're going to have to make do with the amateur as well - for now.
My thoughts on your lovely bird:
First thing that came to mind was the tail looks too short for the Ovambo Sparrowhawk, the next thing I noticed wa the fact that there seem to be two colour variations to the Juvenile, the dark form, which is consistent with the darker head and wings of your bird, but the dark form has plain rufous underparts, the second; pale form has the lighter chest and belly as does yours, but the head and shoulders then also seem to always be much lighter and not the dark brown of your bird.

Eyebrow stripe also seems to be very marginal on your bird.
The colouring of your bird looks to me to be more consistant with a Juvenile Shikra, Although there appear to be less brown markings on chest and belly than would usually(?) be the case.
The size would probably be a determining factor here as the Ovambo is about 25% larger than the Shikra.

those are my thoughts...... now we both wait with bated breath for the other guys to make their call.
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:08 pm

Juvenile BCSE, in late morph?
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Dreamer » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:13 pm

Thank you..I'll keep watching here for the replies. I am a real beginner with this :D
Thanks for your input Haplo and BB.
@ BB,
Is BCSE a new name (Black Chested Snake Eagle) or abbreviation for the Black Breasted Snake eagle? If so, this bird does not have a prominent yellow eye and cannot see any barring on the tail. Any more thoughts?
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:58 pm

Yes Dreamer, breast has been replaced by chest.

I am not sure, but the size and white front suggests that this bird is nearing adult plumage. They are a regular sighting in KTP, and that is why this amateur goes with it. The younger juvenile looks nothing like his parents though.
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Caracal » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:30 pm

Re the bird pic that Dreamer posted.
Here are some more pics of the same bird. All the pics have been lightened and cropped so rather bad quality.

Image

Image

Image

I am not sure what the bird actually is but I am quite sure that it was not a BCSE...amongst other things it was too small to be a BCSE.

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:50 pm

OK, I bow out, but I would be interested in what it IS.
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Haplo » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:38 pm

Dreamer, Caracal, and BB -

How about we split the differences....

If the Size doesn't make the grade on the BCSE, then may I suggest we all go and look at the standard BSE?
After puzzling over every book I have, and checking the internet, AGAIN! The odds look reasonable for it to be a BSE on the verge of adulthood.
The only thing that may put me off this diagnosis would be banding on the tail, on the outer side - but that may be one moult away from appearing fully. The odds look good to me for this bird, the underwing patterns even fit, from what I can see on the photo's. Also look at the lighter blush on the cheeks, but then the legs are going to let me down aren't they? Too yellow orange-ish? Not the Lighter shade we would otherwise expect.
Everything else seems to fit though.... Sunset tans anyone?
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Batmad » Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:50 pm

Caracal- At 1st glance i would Tawny eagle. But looking closely a black facial mark is present :hmz:


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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:20 am

Check the bald legs, Batmad.

Interesting Haplo, but I don't recall seeing BSE in Kgalagadi, but if there was a SBS recently, anything is possible.
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Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby deefstes » Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:13 am

I see there has been a few birds that has not been ID'ed yet. Pretty challenging ones, some of them.

Dreamer wrote:Hi,
Please can anyone help with this the ID of this bird seen along the Aoub in KTP at the beginning of this month?
SO has been wondering if not perhaps a Juvenile Ovambo Sparrowhawk ?
Image
This is also an interesting bird. I believe that the bird is a juvenile Jackal Buzzard but an interesting one because it could very possibly be a "white-chested" Jackal Buzzard. Some individuals don't have the rufous chest which often lead to misidentifications of Augur Buzzard. This form is particularly common towards the arid western parts of the country. I can imagine that this might be a juvenile of that form, hence the very pale underparts.
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby deefstes » Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:38 am

OK, I see there was a whole page's worth of more discussion on these birds that I didn't see before I posted mine. I still stand by my ID's but there were a few things I though might be worth commenting on.

I see that, for the Buzzard, there has been a lot of discussion around different Snake-Eagles. Snake-Eagles have a very rounded head and not nearly as potent a bill as this bird. Also, Snake-Eagles don't have yellow legs, except for the Western Banded Snake-Eagle which have pale yellow legs and don't occur anywhere near these parts. That potent bill should also eliminate all suspicions of Sparrowhawks, Goshawks or the like.

Bush Baptist wrote:I am not sure, but the size and white front suggests that this bird is nearing adult plumage.
Remember that juvenile birds (of all species) are generally not smaller than adult birds. By the time the birds fledge they have usually attained full size, if not adult plumage. As a matter of interest, juveniles are in fact often bigger than adults simply because they have been fed better. This is not something that's really visible to birders though but usually recorded by bird ringers who weigh the birds.

Haplo wrote:If the Size doesn't make the grade on the BCSE, then may I suggest we all go and look at the standard BSE?
These acronymic bird names can get quite confusing but I assume you're referring to Black-chested Snake-Eagle (BCSE) and Brown Snake-Eagle (BSE)? Remember that Brown Snake-Eagle is even bigger than Black-chested Snake-Eagle, probably by something like 25-30%.

Bush Baptist wrote:Interesting Haplo, but I don't recall seeing BSE in Kgalagadi, but if there was a SBS recently, anything is possible.
Again, an acronym I'm not sure of but does this refer to Southern Banded Snake-Eagle? Surely that must be a mistake! Southern Banded Snake-Eagle in Kgalagadi :big_eyes: Brown Snake-Eagle on the other hand should be fairly common in Kgalagadi.
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