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Sparrowhawk: Little

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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stefans
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Sparrowhawk: Little

Unread postby stefans » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:48 pm

2 Mystery birds from my December 08 holiday:

Wish photos were better quality, but these are all I have

Second bird was photographed early morning at Bonamanzi. In front of staff accomodation. This in an area I think they call Sand Forest. It was spotted at the birdbath and was quite at ease spending a lot of time before it flew off. NO White markings on the tail at all! My gut feel is that it is too big for little sparrowhawk, but too small for African Goshawk (SHIKRA????)

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deefstes
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Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby deefstes » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:58 pm

@stefans:
Your second bird looks bang on the button for Little Sparrowhawk but it bothers me if you're saying that there were no white on the tail. I seem to be making out some white on the tail though. Are you sure there were no white or could you have missed it perhaps?

The yellow cere and yellow eye rings are classical features of Little Spar and Shikra would have had a red eye. Also, the rufous wash on the flanks is typical of Little Spar.

Remember that size can be very misleading if you don't have much to compare the bird against. A bird on the ground often looks a bit bigger than a bird in the tree.
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stefans
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby stefans » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:51 am

Deefstes
Thanks for feedback. I gave up on these two, but can add the following.

The sparrowhawk definitely did not show any white markings on the tail as it flew away (I was wishing for it to take flight so that I could look for these markings) However you are right -there was some white showing on the back/folded wings(?) as the bird sat on the ground.

Would you say that the red eye of Shikra is red like a Red-eye Dove's (Which unless you get the light right can appear pretty black!) or is it more pronounced. I do not know this bird at all.

You also make a very valid point that sizing a bird is not always as easy as one would expect

Happy birding!

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deefstes
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby deefstes » Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:59 am

@stefans:
Here is an annotated version of your image. I've pointed out where I think I can see white on the tail.
Image

Either way, I would say the other features point so overwhelmingly to Little Sparrowhawk that I'm willing to ignore the apparent absence oif white on the tail :wink:

As for the red eye of Shikra, yes it can appear dark if the sun does not catch it but it's much redder than that of Red-eyed Dove for instance. When the sun catches it nicely it's actually a rather striking red. Shikra would never show that yellow ring around the eye though.
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arks
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby arks » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:29 am

There was an intresting discussion a page or two back about the differences between the little sparrowhawk and the shikra. I'd originally thought that this little raptor was a shikra, mainly because of the red eyes, but looking more closely, it looks like there is white on the tail, so now I'm not so sure :? Can anyone help me determine which is is?

Also, my Newmans describes the little sparrowhawk as secretive, yet this bird was sitting in a tree adjacent to my stoep at Mopani, on 15 October 2008 — which might also seem more indicative of the less secretive shikra?

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Rusty Justy » Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:05 pm

Little Sparrowhawk! :)
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csummers
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby csummers » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:20 pm

Hi,

Saw this bird near Pretoriuskop. Think it is a Gabar Goshawk. Any ideas?

Thanks,


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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby 3dgreek » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:21 pm

I was gonna say a Little Sparrow hawk but it's a bit darker than a normal one and it's chest seems too speckled for a Gaber Goshawk.

Anyway, that's just from looking through my Field Guide to Birds of Southern Africa and not personal experience.
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Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Mgoddard » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:40 pm

Me again...have now been trying for the last hour to upload these 2 pictures.

Seen in the Shingwedzi area this morning. Maybe Little Sparrowhawk??

Image

Thanks again for the help, appreciated..

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby arks » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:57 pm

It's hard to tell the bird's size from the pix, This one doesn't appear to have the eyebrow, so that one might be a juvenile little sparrowhawk.
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Lizet Grobbelaar » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:32 pm

Mgoddard: I agree with Little Sparrow-Hawk. Difficult to tell size.. but the white blotches on the back and behind the head on the nape gives it away!
Last edited by Lizet Grobbelaar on Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Rusty Justy » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:07 pm

I agree with Lizet.......Little Sparrowhawk! :thumbs_up:
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby JOL » Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:17 pm

Lizet Grobbelaar wrote:2nd Pic: I agree with Little Sparrow-Hawk. Difficult to tell size.. but the white blotches on the back and behind the head on the nape gives it away!


Hi Lizet ,

I think you might well be right about the second bird being a little sparrowhawk. However , I'm not sure that the "white blotches on the back and behind the nape" gives it away. I've seen these white blotches on some of the other smaller hawk-species , so I guess my question is: Are you sure that they rule out shikra as a possibillity?

Cheers
Jon

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Lizet Grobbelaar
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Lizet Grobbelaar » Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:20 pm

Hi Jon, I agree, but the lack of supercilium and the ghost tail spots on this bird made me opt for LSH (sorry should have mentioned this too). In the case of juv. Shikra I would expect a whitish supercilium and although eye colour varies a lot I would still not expect it to be bright yellow in a juv. rather greyish to brown...

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Ex-Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby JOL » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:51 am

Lizet Grobbelaar wrote:Hi Jon, I agree, but the lack of supercilium and the ghost tail spots on this bird made me opt for LSH (sorry should have mentioned this too). In the case of juv. Shikra I would expect a whitish supercilium and although eye colour varies a lot I would still not expect it to be bright yellow in a juv. rather greyish to brown...


Hi Lizet ,

Much better! I sense that you're a bit hesitant to use eye colour for id'ing in this case , which I think is wise , since it varies a bit - young shikras can show a fairly bright yellow eye. The total absence of a white/pale supercilium on the other hand , is a really good character! It can be somewhat difficult to see on some shikras , but there is - in my experience - always a trace of it , giving this species a "meaner" facial expression than little sparrowhawk.

Cheers
Jon


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