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Buzzard: Steppe

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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deefstes
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Identification Help - Raptors

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

@mgoddard:
Your first bird is an interesting one. It certainly has the makings of a Forest Buzzard but these birds are frighteningly difficult to seperate from Steppe Buzzard. The reason I'm saying it has the makings of Forest Buzzard is because it does appear light enough and I can't make out any horizontal barring on the underparts towards the legs. Also the habitat seems good.

However, one absolute clincher would be the length of the wing and in your pic of the bird perched it does seem as if the wing extend well past the base of the tail. Forest Buzzards have very short wings that, in rest, typically extend only to the base of the tail or sometimes just a little bit longer but never more than a third of the tail length. You could post a higher resolution crop of the tail of that bird perhaps? In a higher resolution image I think it will be clear.
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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 first bird is a classical Steppe Buzzard. That horizontal demarcation on the breast should be your first and strongest hint. The yellow cere and dark eye in itself is already enough to rule out Honey-Buzzard but the overall shape is just wrong as well. Honey-Buzzard has a very slender head, reminding of a pigeon's head almost.
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by Mgoddard » Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:19 am

Thank you deefstes..I hope this pic will be more helpful. I have cropped it quite a bit and saved it as 1080dpi.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3517/320 ... edcb_o.jpg"%20onclick="window.open(this.href);return%20false;

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

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

@Mgoddard:
OK thanks, that picture certainly helps to nail the ID and I'm afraid but your bird is a Steppe Buzzard. You can see that the left wing extends pretty much as far as the tip of the tail. You would never see this on Forest Buzzard.

Just as an aside, and unrelated to birding, you saved the image as 1080dpi but that really isn't what gives it higher resolution. The dpi value of an image has no meaning when you view the image on a computer screen, it is only significant when you print the image on paper.

What is more important is that you saved the image at 811x855 pixels. That is what determine how big it will show up on my screen. Your previous version of the same image was 458x500 pixels which is a little over 1/4 the size of this one but it contained a much wider field of view. That is why this one is providing details.
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by Mgoddard » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:20 am

Thanks again, that is why I find it so difficult to ID these brown ones. If pic 1 & 2 is Steppe Buzzard and pic 4 is also one its hard to believe as the first one looks a lot lighter than the 4th :shock: :redface:

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Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by sprunkey » Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:08 pm

Please confirm or correct my ID's. Seen close to Hartebeeshoek:

Black Kite?

Image

Image

Thanks

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by deefstes » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:36 am

Hi sprunkey,

Your first bird is a good old Steppe Buzzard. Black Kite would have shown a whiter head and overall different shape.
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by Rusty Justy » Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:23 pm

Agree with the Steppe Buzzard.
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by Moegaai » Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:46 am

Saw this Steppe Buzzard in the Hartebeeshoek area yesterday:

Image

The reason I'm posting is that this one was quite interesting with the breast so heavily streaked, telling me it's a Juvenile.

Your thoughts on it?

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by Rusty Justy » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:04 pm

Whens it the correct time to use Juvenile, and immature??! :D
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Re: A new Look At Addo

Unread post by Caracal » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:07 pm

I am of the opinion that the snake eater was a juvenile PCG!



I am sticking with the original ID of Steppe Buzzard. Warthog sent me the original photo. When I zoom in on the photo I can see dark eyes, yellow legs and a yellow cere ( I think that is the word) which points more to a buzzard than a PCG...just my opinion !!! :hmz:

Cropped version of the bird.

Image

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by deefstes » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:32 pm

Rusty Justy wrote:Whens it the correct time to use Juvenile, and immature??! :D

There was actually some discussion on this topic on SABN not too long ago. I've mostly used the two terms interchangeably but there is actually a difference and I should get in the habit of using it properly.

Here is what Vincent Ward had to say on the topic:
Vincent Ward wrote:The terms are absolutely not interchangable. Each refers to a specifically definible moulted set of body plumages.

A bird with its first set of "non-downy" body feathers is referred as being in juvenile plumage.

The next change of body plumage after another full moult, but which is not its adult plumage, is the immature plumage.

If the bird has another body plumage moult, but is still not in adult plumage, it is in it's subadult plumage.

Not all bird have all the stages. Short lived species like passerines can go from juvenile to adult. Longer lived species tended to add the extra stages.
The situation gets complicated in very long lived species (like albatrosses and raptors) where there may be multiple stages of any of the above.

The length of time between body moults also vary depending on the life span of the species. In short lived species there can be 6 months between each moult, a year or more for longer lived species.

The best SA example of a species that has all four plumages is the Kelp Gull which reaches adult maturity at 4 years. I did a population study a few years ago and could age all of the birds in my study group with relative accuracy.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by Rusty Justy » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:41 pm

Thanks A lot deefstes, will also have to get into the habit of using them correctly.......Always figured Juvenile was younger, just never knew how to tell :doh: :D
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread post by Yolandé Oelsen » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:32 pm

Thanks Deefstes. I think many of us were using these terms interchanging.

Would the term sub-adult then be refering to plumage between immature and adult? like in raptors?
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Re: A new Look At Addo

Unread post by Johann » Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:33 pm

:wink:
It does look a bit odd for Steppe Buzzard when looking at the enlarged image. Barring and long legs are more like one would expect from one of the Goshawks rather than our Steppe Buzzard.
The colouration however, isn't as one would expect for the normal PCG. Juvenile/Immature birds have orange legs and cere with a pale yellow iris. They are usually lighter in colour than what we are seeing here and would show a whitish/buff eyebrow. I'm used to their over-all colour being a bit lighter than this bird. Barring should extend all the way down the legs.
Adults have the orange-red legs and cere with the dark eye that we know. And of course the over-all pale grey colour.
Only very young birds (chicks) would show yellow legs with a greyish iris (changing to yellow when fledged). Bill should be black with grey cere This bird does seem to be quite young still when one looks at the yellow gape but except for the yellow legs, the other things don't match up 100%.

I'll have a look tonight at home in some of my books if I can find some more info that might help.
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