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Kestrel, Rock

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Herman
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Unread postby Herman » Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:04 pm

My first time in this section - I'm not a birder/ twitcher and can't tell an ostrich from an owl, but I'd like to know what this guy's name could be. I took this pic at Augrabies in Dec. It was rather small - about20 cm
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Unread postby Jay » Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:16 pm

it looks like a Rock kestrel Herman, gorgeous pic by the way :wink: lovely little birds, you should see how they dive bomb my poor cat :lol:

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Unread postby BushCall » Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:01 pm

Herman wrote:My first time in this section - I'm not a birder/ twitcher and can't tell an ostrich from an owl, but I'd like to know what this guy's name could be. I took this pic at Augrabies in Dec. It was rather small - about20 cm
Image


Herman I consulted the family expert and I'm told its a Greater Kestrel..nice shot by the way ...whats Augrabies like...never been there

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Johan van Rensburg
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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:13 am

Great pix, Herman. I like the perspective with the suggestion of fast-flowing water in the background.

Sorry to have you get confusing replies on your first posting in this thread - but with the raptors this happens quite often as they are not easy to ID.

Your bird, I agree with Jay, is a Rock Kestrel.

Reasons:
a) At 20 cm it is too small to be a greater kestrel
b) The markings on the front of the bird is all bold in a vertical orientation. This is typical of the rock kestrel. The GK's markings change from fine vertical to horizontal barring accross the lower front
c) The GK has a light yellow eye - RK has a dark eye
d) GK has the same coloration over all of its body, including head and tail - RK has a solid rufous or dark brown head mask and barred grey tail feathers - all of which one can see in your pix.
d) The jizz of the GK is leaner than the dumpy appearance of the RK.

There are some other pointers too, like your bird sitting on a ROCK :lol:

Again, IMHO this is a Rock Kestrel, not a Greater Kestrel
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Unread postby francoisd » Tue Apr 24, 2007 8:26 am

Johan van Rensburg wrote:b) The markings on the front of the bird is all bold in a vertical orientation. This is typical of the rock kestrel. The GK's markings change from fine vertical to horizontal barring accross the lower front

The juvenile Greater Kestrel does not have the horizontal baring

Johan van Rensburg wrote:c) The GK has a light yellow eye - RK has a dark eye

Juvenile GK also has a dark eye

Johan van Rensburg wrote:d) RK has a solid rufous or dark brown head mask and barred grey tail feathers - all of which one can see in your pix.

Head colour in adult RK is grey

All this said the bird in the photo does seem to be less heavily marked on the back as seen in juvenile (young) GK and my best guess will be young RockKestrel
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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Apr 24, 2007 9:52 am

Hi, francoisd. I wrote my bit from work without the benefit of my references, banking on memory only (at my age, very dangerous, I know). If I remember correctly, the grey mask is for the male bird. I think the bird in question to be an adult female RK.

How about critting the clincher - kestrel perched on ROCK! :lol:
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Unread postby francoisd » Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:21 am

Johan van Rensburg wrote:HIf I remember correctly, the grey mask is for the male bird. I think the bird in question to be an adult female RK.

Both male and female RK has the grey mask.

Not having your references with you at all times is very bad :P

From SASOL on RK: Sexes alike excepton the tail where female has narrow dark bars that male lacks. The cere of adult RK is also yellowish and not greyish as in the bird posted.

In fact the bird could be a juevnile Greater Kestrel but as I've said IMO the back is to lightly marked to be GK but then raptors are big LBJs to me
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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:36 pm

francoisd, now with the upperhand, wrote:Not having your references with you at all times is very bad


True. Very true. But just wait, francoisd. I do shayile (go home) later today, then we will be on an equal footing. I will then be able to check how trustworthy (or not :lol: ) this ol' memory is. Years back ('87/'88 ) we used to go to the confuence of the Orange and Vaal rivers below Douglas (fishing for small- and largemouth yellows) where we used to watch RKs and their antics for hours. To be checked out - male mask = slate grey, imm mask = dark grey (appearing near black in the field) and female mask = rufous to dark brown (probably lightens with age)
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Unread postby j-ms » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:15 pm

Johan van Rensburg wrote:
francoisd, now with the upperhand, wrote:Not having your references with you at all times is very bad


True. Very true. But just wait, francoisd. I do shayile (go home) later today, then we will be on an equal footing. I will then be able to check how trustworthy (or not :lol: ) this ol' memory is. Years back ('87/'88 ) we used to go to the confuence of the Orange and Vaal rivers below Douglas (fishing for small- and largemouth yellows) where we used to watch RKs and their antics for hours. To be checked out - male mask = slate grey, imm mask = dark grey (appearing near black in the field) and female mask = rufous to dark brown (probably lightens with age)

Grey mask not always present in female RK.

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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:43 pm

Come on, j-ms, name the source of your info... I am starting to think my memory isn't too bad after all! :wink:

j-ms wrote:Grey mask not always present in female RK.
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Unread postby j-ms » Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:17 pm

Johan van Rensburg wrote:Come on, j-ms, name the source of your info... I am starting to think my memory isn't too bad after all! :wink:

j-ms wrote:Grey mask not always present in female RK.


QUOTE Female may or may not have grey head UNQUOTE (Page 212, Birds of Southern Africa, Kenneth Newman 2002 ISBN 1 86872 735 1)

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Unread postby j-ms » Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:20 pm

To complete the words of the great KN
Female may or may not have grey head; sometimes like immature with head same colour as rest of plumage but heavily streaked dark brown

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Unread postby francoisd » Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:24 pm

Thankss j-ms. Will make a note in my SASOL. OK so is the bird a juvenile or a female without the grey head?
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Unread postby j-ms » Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:46 pm

With no visible blue-grey on the base of the tail, I would swing to juvenile - but that's only because I can't see much of the tail area from the image (adult both f&m have grey base of tail with the female's barred black while juvenile base is ruffous barred black).

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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Apr 24, 2007 9:28 pm

OK. After having had an opportunity to check Roberts VII a couple of comments:

Size: RK = 30 – 33 cm; GK = 33 – 36 cm (difference is a lot less than what I expected/remembered).

Malar stripe prominent in the RK, absent in GK

The following are said about the differences between the sexes and adult and immature birds:
Female is generally browner than the male with dark streaking on the head. Some birds have black barring on rump and upper tail. Juveniles (compared with ad) – head brownish; head, upper- and under parts more heavily streaked. Tail and flight feathers tipped buff. Cere blue/grey, feet paler.

My guess (because that is the best I can do here – the pix does not have sufficient detail for me to be positive) is a young (not juvenile) female bird.

We have a posting for the greater kestrel with a wonderful pix posted by Jumbo that can be seen here


I don’t see a thread for the Rock Kestrel, so Herman’s post can be used to initiate the specie thread with all the subsequent discussion serving to give substance. How do you feel about that suggestion, francoisd?

BTW, I am so late with this promised posting because of an unexpected ringing date with a Steppe Buzzard. Will post about that a bit later.
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