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Sparrowhawk: Little

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
stefans
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Sparrowhawk: Little

Unread post by 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????)

Image

Image

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deefstes
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Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by 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 post by 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 post by 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 post by 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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Image
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

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

Little Sparrowhawk! :)
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Mgoddard
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Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by 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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arks
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by 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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Lizet Grobbelaar
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by 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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Rusty Justy
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

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

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

Unread post by 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 post by 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 post by 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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Lizet Grobbelaar
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by Lizet Grobbelaar » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:21 pm

Hallo Jon,
I appreciate you're input, and thanks for the tip! I must confess my experience with Shikra isn't as good as yours! I seldom see them as juv. and the adult is easy to ID.

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Cherries » Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:32 pm

Hi Guys!

From time to time some of us will be asking for help for Martie (Mgoddard) on her Blog to ident her bird photos.

This one is from Punda Maria area (Day 74 of Blog)

Image

Over the next few weeks, I will go back in her blog and see what is outstanding.

OR....

You experts out there read her blog and give us your input! :thumbs_up:
Jackie

Croc Bridge - 6 April 2012
Berg en Dal - 7&8 April 2012


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