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Buzzard: Steppe

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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bucky
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Unread postby bucky » Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:39 am

Something to warm up on for the weekend guys .

Location highveld , near reads .
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Both the same bbj , sorry about the bad quality of no 2 .

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Unread postby deefstes » Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:31 am

Sorry, I forgot about the first bird, and I'm sorry to have to contradict you Snoobab but it is not a Harrier. The bird photographed is a classical Steppe Buzzard (Buteo vulpinus).

Apart from the lack of the facial disk, long obviously barred tail, whitish leading edge to the wings and general gizz of a Harrier, this bird shows the unmistakable underwing pattern of Steppe Buzzard.

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Buzzard: Steppe

Unread postby Boulder » Sat Feb 10, 2007 3:30 pm

I saw this fine speciman on the Domkrag Loop this morning at Addo
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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:31 pm

Great shot Boulder. They are ubiquitous in the Cape at present.
Went birding with Acekam last Sunday and saw about 20 on poles. They allow passing cars to get quite close, but when you slow down for a look they take off.
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Unread postby Wild about cats » Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:01 am

Wow Boulder, that is an excellent shot! I am yet to see one of these beautiful birds. Where would be the best place to see one?
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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:14 am

Wild about cats wrote:Wow Boulder, that is an excellent shot! I am yet to see one of these beautiful birds. Where would be the best place to see one?


Take the N2 from Houwhoek to Caledon, or the N7 to Malmesbury, or the Kleinmond road to Arabella. They sit on the telephone or fence poles.
Last edited by Bush Baptist on Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Boulder » Sun Feb 11, 2007 11:43 am

Bush Baptist wrote:Great shot Boulder. They are ubiquitous in the Cape at present.
Went birding with Acekam last Sunday and saw about 20 on poles. They allow passing cars to get quite close, but when you slow down for a look they take off.


Its amazing how Bird Numbers change year on year. Last year this time there were hardly any in Addo let alone surrounding areas ...now 12 months later they are everywhere and Addo at the moment is over run by Steppe Buzzards.....When are your team arriving at Addo? Would love to come over and have a chat and sort out some of Namibia's finest Malt, Hops and Water....chilled and canned of course!!!
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Unread postby Jay » Sun Feb 11, 2007 6:11 pm

this is true, virtually every second telephone pole here has one on, (and the pole in between has a Yellow-billed Kite) :wink: But 3 years ago I fairly seldom saw them here :?

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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:51 am

Boulder wrote:When are your team arriving at Addo? Would love to come over and have a chat and sort out some of Namibia's finest Malt, Hops and Water....chilled and canned of course!!!


September 24 for 5 nights, That would be great.
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Unread postby saraf » Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:26 pm

What beautiful colours.

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Unread postby Kwando » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:23 pm

Hi all, long time since last post here.... :?

Is this a Streaky Form Tawny Eagle :?:
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Unread postby Imberbe » Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:31 am

Raptors are often very difficult to nail.

I would not think that this is a Tawny Eagle. It looks a little too frail in build to be a Tawny, which is a big robust bird. Also the tarsus of the leg (bottom part) is clearly visible. In eagles this part is covered by feathers.

I am of opinion that it is probably the dark form of the Steppe Buzzard, a common summer visitor to S.A. But I stand to be corrected! :wink:
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:36 am

I agree, def not an eagle. I would also go with Steppe Buzzard.

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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:43 pm

I got this portrait of a Steppe Buzzard this afternoon in quite unusual circumstances.

Image

The story of how this opportunity afforded itself can be read
here

It shows all the facial features - nostril shape, gape, cere, eye colour, etc. in great detail!
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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Wed May 30, 2007 11:24 pm

Our ringed Steppe Buzzard is still perched in the same general area - seen well again this afternoon. It has really picked its spot... we have experienced a spate of minimum temperatures around -10 deg C. At least she is surviving the chill!

Steppe Buzzard, Buteo vulpinus

The Steppe Buzzard is one of the most common birds of prey found both in central/eastern Europe during the northern summer as well as in the northern parts of Southern Africa during our summer.

Physical characteristics:

It has a compact stature, with a round head and a rather short tail. Its plumage shows variable colours, generally rich brown, with lighter markings beneath. Beak is hooked from the base. Sexes are identical, but females are slightly larger than males. This is difficult to observe and can usually only be confirmed with a bird in the hand (by weighing it). Female birds on average weigh 820 g as opposed to the 620 g for males.
Primary feathers are dark chocolate. Tail is short and wide. Eyes are golden brown. Space between the bill and eye covered with bristly feathers; eyelids with soft downy feathers; the superciliary ridge is prominent. The bill is light blue at the base, with the margins yellow, the tip black; the cere yellow. The feet are yellow and feather-free, claws black, at the base bluish.

Immature birds are very similar to adults, except that their heads show white or yellowish stripes. Wings and back feathers edges are sharp and reddish-brown. Tail is pale-brown, uniformly barred dark brown. The subterminal band is generally narrower than in the adult. Eyes are pale but change quickly. Cere and feet are yellow and the beak is blackish. They get their adult plumage at 16 months.

Distribution and habitat:

The Steppe Buzzard breeds in Eastern Europe and Siberia; its non-breeding grounds include southern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. The buzzard is believed to mate for life. It frequents a wide variety of habitats: all types of woodlands, from small field bushes to alluvial forests, near marshes and rocky coasts. The Buzzard is linked to all kinds of forests, open country as well as mountains, but always close to an open space. It is also found in places where trees are scattered, in agricultural zones and in rocky areas in the mountains.

Behaviour:

This Buzzard is often considered a lazy bird, often seen singly, quietly perched for a long time. The Buzzard starts its flight slowly and heavily, but when reaching a certain altitude, it soars slowly and spirals upwards easily.

Buzzards are regularly mobbed by other raptors, lapwings, crows and forked-tail drongos.

They have a gull-like, high-pitched mewing call, but are mostly silent while in Southern Africa.

The Steppe Buzzard arrives in Southern Africa generally around October, juveniles arriving later. Northward migration starts in March and is normally complete by end of April. Juveniles occasionally over-winter.

Birds tend to return to the same areas year after year.

Diet:

The Steppe Buzzard has a great adaptability. This species eats small mammals caught on the ground, but also birds, reptiles, amphibians and large insects. During food shortage, buzzards can feed off carrion. This adaptability is perhaps the reason why it has high breeding successes. The bird can also get along with little to eat; the average daily food requirement for each adult bird is less than 140g.

Hunting technique:

The Steppe Buzzard is a slow, awkward flier, and has little chance of catching its prey on the move. The usual tactic is to perch motionless on a branch of a large tree, or on a tall post, its markings being excellent camouflage rendering it almost invisible. It is a patient bird, quite content to sit for hours at a time until prey pass beneath it. The majority of its prey is captured after having been visually located from its perch, during low altitude circling flights, but also after searching at an altitude of about 100 metres.

The Buzzard has also a keen ear, and can trace mouse movements in the grass. When the prey is located, the buzzard soars slowly towards the ground, dropping onto its prey. Occasionally it lands, runs quickly with agility and captures its prey.
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