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 Post subject: Long-Legged/Steppe Buzzard
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:26 am 
OK....this is a bird that has caused many arguments. I am not going to give any info which might bias people one way or another.
It was one of a pair seen in the KTP, near Twee Riviren at the beginning of Feb 2008 approx 10am. The pair were hovering about 20m off the gound, then swooping down, feeding and taking off again. Eventually one (in the photos) perched in a large camelthorn conveniently near the road where it sat for a while being mobbed by everything before taking off and flying over the dune.

Edit: Sorry...pic's are huge. I don't know how to resize them (mods?)

Image
Pic 1: First sighted sitting in a camel thorn

Image
Pic 2: Still sitting

Image
Pic 3: Mobbed by Fork-tailed drongos (included for some sort of size comparison)

Image
Pic 4: Eventually got fed up and flew away.

:twisted: This could be interesting


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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:00 pm 
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Agreed Bahumut and I would even go a step further and say its an Immature Steppe Buzzard because of the yellow eyes and lack of broad dark tip to the tail.
Beautiful pics TaraLB. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:37 pm 
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Elsa wrote:
Agreed Bahumut


Sry Elsa, caught me on a repost :redface:

Not a Jackal or Augur, they don't have visible tail barring.
Wings to long to be a Forest.
That leaves Steppe and Long-legged.

Uniform tail barring and no sub terminal broader tail band and dark carpal commas would make this a ...

Juv Steppe Buzzurd (pale-grey morph)

I hope :D

Over to the experts!


Last edited by Bahamut on Thu Sep 11, 2008 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 1:43 pm 
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TaraLB wrote:
Sorry...pic's are huge. I don't know how to resize them (mods?)

TaraLB see here for resizing photos etc
Posting photos on the forum: New Guidelines

Edit:
Btw although your pics are big in dimensions the actual file size is relatively small, biggest only 120kb. It's the file size not the picture size that actually matters most for people with slow connections.

High quality pics must have small dimensions to keep the file size small (Lots of pixels are stored to make a high definition picture).

Low quality pics (you can see the dots making up the picture, not to be confused with camera blur) can have bigger dimensions as less pixels are actually stored to make up the same area of the photo.


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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 2:15 pm 
Bahamut - They were orgially high quality pics, which I then cropped down considerably so that they bird was the only thing in the pic (as opposed to sky & tree!). I wasn't sure of the file size but glad that they seem to be ok :)

@ Elsa - many thanks :) Love taking photos and especially photos of birds


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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:37 pm 
Great pics, TaraLB!

I have no clue!

Back to Bahamut no.2

All I can come up with is a Tawny, as the long gape is particularly well developed and coloured for a subadult bird!?

(Hopefully experts should be around shortly!)

Besides WTM, of course!


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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:00 pm 
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Hi TaraLB,

That Buzzard of yours Is giving Nightmares :D Steppe Buzzard and Long-legged Buzzard Immatures are Impossible to distinguish in the field, unless a direct size comparision can be made. Unfortunately, I think we have an Immature bird here.... :doh: So my best thoughts on the matter(Until I can have a look with some books)................................ tick it as which ever buzzard you still need for your list :twisted: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:29 pm 
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Come on guys and girls.

What Buzzard is the one that TaraLB posted?? It might be a rare Long-legged :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:51 pm 
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BBR (Big Blue Roberts) says Stepe Buz diifers from LL Buz in having dark carpal marks narrow, forming commas not solid patches. I'm sticking to my guns in calling it a stepe :twisted:


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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:14 am 
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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

Good luck! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:20 am 
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I must just add a mention that I won't be shocked if it turned out to be a Steppe Buzzard.

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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:45 am 
Thanks for that very informative reply wildT, you can see why it caused so many arguments. We did send several photos to a rarities committee (via Africa Birds & birding) who said exactly what you did, that it was impossible to distinguish from juv. Steppe Buzzard without a direct size comparison. So... :hmz: I guess it's really difficult to tell from photos.

I personally lean towards LLB. When we saw this bird, we had already spent several days in the Park and this instantly had a different giss to everything else we had seen (and we'd seen plenty of Stepp Buzzards). However, as we only had an older Roberts 5 and the Sasol 3, (our BBR not exactly being a field guide adn therefore remained at home in Grahamstown) we could not be 100% confident on the ID. So we sat in the 45 degree heat for about 2 hours trying to get good enough photos so that we could ID it once we got home. I even went as far as borrowing a European bird book from one of the professors at Rhodes!

It would be great if we could get a 100% guarenteed ID on it. But alas, I think we will just have to keep going back to the KTP until we find both Steppe adn LLB juvs together!

it is interesting that the Roberts mentioned that this bird is more common than previously thought. I can believe that, especially as they are so similar to the pale Steppe Buzzard form. I would imagine that a lot of people gloss over Steppe buzzards as they can be very common. I guess it's a bit like not seeing the wood for all the trees!


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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:58 am 
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What conclusion did you reach from the European Bird Book?

Nothing stops you from ticking it as a Long-Legged Buzzard especially if something like the rarities committee can't give you a good enough reason why it isn't one.

You thought it is one, quite a lot of us here on the forum think it is one. So?

Honestly, I think that if all sightings of this bird south of Tanzania were considered unsubstantiated then it should be removed from the Southern African list altogether then.

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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:02 am 
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My SO and I had excellent sightings of an Eurasian Marsh Harrier at Marievale last summer.

We know what we saw and we ticked it as such. We had no intention of giving the record thru to the rarities committee as we don't do birding as a competition but for a fun hobby.

If I saw your Buzzard and quite a few other people would agree with me on the sighting then I would tick it.

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 Post subject: Re: Identification Help - Raptors
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:11 am 
The European book, and the opinion of the owner of said book, both agreed that it was a LLB. We ticked it as such. I am perfectly confident that that is what it was, I was just curious to see what other people had to say. And maybe people will pick up a tip or two on Steppe Buzzard identification! :mrgreen:
And like you, birding is a hobby for me and my SO. The committee apparently were divided on what it was, and so went with the safer option; which is fine by me :) If someone wants to give me a huge chunk of money to study the LLB and Steppe Buzzards, I'd pack up and move to teh KTP tomorrow! (and while I'm dreaming, I'd like a brand new Cruiser too...)


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