Notes to readers of this Blog


Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A look at photos of Birds of Prey coming from the right

I thought I'd put up some comparison photos of Birds of Prey from roughly the same angle and point out the similarities and differences I use for identification:

Australian Hobby - wings much thinner than larger birds of prey, very fast through the air especially when close to the ground. Have noticed they tend to snare anything from large insects to small mammals and then head to a nearby tree to feed. Not any real "fingers" on the wingtips. Similar species are Peregrine, although Peregrines are a bit bigger and look more "muscly". Haven't noticed Hobbys "hovering".

Black Falcon - most often confused with Brown Falcons. Beak is the obvious difference, and wings are more hunched like a Batman pose when coming through the air. Speedy, aerodynamic BoP.

Black Kite - most easily distinguished by the forked tail, can be in large groups, often seen hanging around with Whistling Kites, long "fingers" at wingtips. Circling/soaring behaviour.

Black-breasted Buzzard - distinguishing features include the pale "bullseyes" a the end of the underwing toward the wingtips and the short tail. Often uses thermals to circle from low to high quite rapidly.

Black-shouldered Kite - more common than the Letterwing Kite in areas I have been. In flight from this angle quite easy to distinguish from Letterwing Kite.

Brown Falcon - younger ones are darker. Bands on tail easily seen when tail becomes fanned, lighter underwings than Black Falcon, have seen these BoP hover, as well as soar, as well as dive. quite often see one, then a number of these, mainly perched in roadside trees.

Brown Goshawk - mainly confused with Collared Sparrowhawk - Brown is larger doesn't really help much when there is only one bird. A shot like this makes it difficult to tell which one it is, but the main way is to try to get a look around the eye - the Brown Goshawk has what they call a "beetle-brow", the Collared sparrowhawk doesn't.

Little Eagle - from afar can be confused with Black-breasted Buzzard due to the tail shape, and both Brown Falcon and Nankeen Kestrel due to the tail, as well as Whistling Kites due to the underwing patterns.

Spotted Harrier - can be confused with the Swamp Harrier until closer inspection. Swamp has the white band on the top of the base of the tail, hard to tell from this angle. Spotted has, surprisingly enough, spots underneath and on its back.

Wedge-tailed Eagle - I've chosen this photo in particular due to the tail feathers. Normally there are a couple of give-aways with a wedgie - the size and the tail, sometimes the tail isn't there and size can only be relied upon if there is another bird around, especially if you see a BoP in the distance. Quite often see pairs of wedgies.

Whistling Kite - most easily distinguished by the rounded tail, the underwing colours, the long fingers of the wingtips and not to mention the whistle-cries. Often see these circling above the road looking for roadkill.

Of course there are other Birds of Prey, but hopefully some of these will help others identify the bird in question a little easier and faster.

Enjoy your Bird-watching!


  1. Buenas capturas en vuelo de estas rapaces.Saludos

  2. Great collection Richard. Really love the Buzzard and the tail-less wedgie. They're all pretty cool. Love my aussie raptors. Thank you for sharing these.