Raptor ID please

To: "canberrabirds chatline" <>
Subject: Raptor ID please
From: "Julian Robinson" <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2012 21:24:10 +1000

Can somebody put me out of my misery please with this bird seen two days ago at Cambewarra between Nowra and Kangaroo Valley.  I can’t place it at all.  It was soaring up high on almost flat wings when not flapping/flying. 


Putting my education above almost certain embarrassment, my thought lines were…  Based on distribution and/or appearance, it’s not a sparrow/goshawk, falcon, hovering kite or any of our eagles or osprey.  It’s not a Pacific Baza, BB Buzzard or a Black, Whistling or Brahminy Kite.  It’s not a Spotted Harrier (or Papuan).  This leaves:


-          Square-tailed kite

-          Swamp Harrier


It does look a bit like the Pizzey illustration of a Female Swamp Harrier but it was flying too high(?) not doing harrier things(?) and the tail barring is wrong (in most photos you can’t see the barring on my bird).  Also it doesn’t have the thin light collar that appears in most illustrations,  though it does seem to have the required long legs.  It’s not a Square-tailed Kite because the wing bars are not strong enough, legs look too long, tail shape might not be square even allowing for moult, the tail barring is wrong and it seems to have yellow legs (though that might be an artifact).  That leaves me with nothing, even though I tried to allow for immature birds.  Obviously I’ve missed something and I’d be grateful for some pointing in the right direction.









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