Quite a puzzle

To: <>
Subject: Quite a puzzle
From: "Geoffrey Dabb" <>
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 2010 13:43:01 +1000

Thanks for those comments.  The helpful contributions of Dan, Philip, John R and Tobias justify Roger inscribing an unlikely juv Black kite on his list for that patch.


For those of literary tastes, I might mention that  my own comment ‘looking for all the world like a Black Kite’ was intended to echo what I recalled Richard Hannay saying when he met Sir Walter Bullivant in ‘The Thirty-nine Steps’:  “looking for all the world like a black stone” [the code phrase].  Hannay is referring to a near-invisible trout lurking in a stream.   However not entirely trusting my memory I consulted the text and find that what Hannay actually said was “”I’ve got him now.  You might swear he was a black stone”.


On the subject of raptor ID, I might add a further little anecdote.  On the Thursday, kiteless as we were, Roger took me to Shepherd’s Lookout.  A couple of raptors were circling below, which I initially took for goshawks, I suppose because birds can seem larger when you look down on them.  When they rose into the sky they could be confirmed as sparrowhawks  (slighter, squarish tails).  The 3 snaps on the left and the 2 on the right show a bird with a differing tail shape depending on how it is being held.











From: Daniel Mantle [
Sent: Saturday, 25 September 2010 12:01 AM
To: ;
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Quite a puzzle


Hi Geoffrey,

I would certainly agree with Philip on this id. Looks good for Black Kite to me:

1. Dark eye patch

2. Two-tone and rather slight bill (base of bill looks yellowish on my monitor but I wouldn't really expect too much colour on a young Black Kite but still the base of the bill is typically paler and in sharp contrast to the black tip whereas Whistling Kite never really show such a strong contrast)

3. looks like a pretty standard Black Kite tail shape to me

4. Long wings on the perched bird (almost reach tail tip whereas tail tip is much longer than wing tip on perched Whistlers)

5. Underwing pattern looks to be mostly dark - I don't think this is purely an artefact of the photography and I think we would still be seeing some of the classic Whistler underwing pattern in these shots. Black Kite underwing is somewhat variable but a nearly uniform dark underwing is fine for this species.

Cheers Dan

no other Whistling Kites have been seen in the vicinity.  Moreover the impression conveyed by the first picture above is of a fully plumaged bird.

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the Canberra Ornithologists Group mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the list contact David McDonald, list manager, phone (02) 6231 8904 or email . If you can not contact David McDonald e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU