Very interesting bird, TaraB.
If you compare it with the illustration in SASOL III it would seem that it is a juvenile Long-Legged Buzzard. An adult bird is ruled out both by SASOL III and Roberts as the tail is finely barred and not plain.
I want to mention a few things:
1. SASOL III describes the immature basically impossible to distinguish from other immature Buzzards unless a direct comparison of size and shape can be made.
2. Roberts makes mention of a sighting in the Kgalagadi by renowned birder Phil Hockey in 2002 as well as in Etosha in 2001 by Ian Sinclair.
3. Roberts also makes mention that all sightings of this bird south of Tanzania were considered unsubstantiated (1988).
4. I don't have my Sappi raptor guide with me but I recall something in there about the Long-Legged Buzzard being more common than thought in Southern Africa.
My personal opinion includes the following:
1. A Steppe Buzzard is described by SASOL III to have barred flanks. this bird shows no evidence of that.
2. A Steppe Buzzard also almost have a dark band across the chest. This bird shows none.
3. Roberts states that this bird is solitary. Steppe can be gregarious. Thus if the other bird was of the same species then Steppe would be more favored.
4. Both Steppe and Long-Legged Buzzards can hover, although Roberts describes the Long-Legged to hover often and the Steppe as doing so rarely.
5. The under wing pattern seems to favor both Steppe and Long-Legged (juvenile).
6. The Photographic Guide to Birds of Southern, Central and East Africa mentions that Long-Legged Buzzard often has a moustachial stripe which looks evident on the pics provided.
My conclusion is that I don't think our Southern African guides can give us a fool proof description of a Long-Legged Buzzard as we just haven't done an awful lot of studies on it.
I feel that it according to my research that it is a Long-Legged Buzzard. But knowing that it is so scarce and that most records require confirmation from people far more knowledgeable than me and with far greater experience.
I am holding thumbs for you, TaraB. I would advise you to submit the record to Trevor Hardaker and let the rarities committee decide what it is.http://www.zestforbirds.co.za/raremain.html