raptor id please

To: jude hopwood <>
Subject: raptor id please
From: Evan Beaver <>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2014 07:15:43 +1100
A more thorough response now I'm at a keyboard.

I got Stephen Debus's excellent Field guide of Australian Raptors a few years ago and it has changed the way I look at them. The points you have picked up are the right diagnostics to look for. For many of them their habits are diagnostic; hovering on the side of the highway? Kestrel or Black Shouldered Kite. Soaring miles in the air leaving you wondering if it's a Cessna? Probably a Wedge-Tail. Then the ones which are similar, like the kites, look to the tail next. The Square-Tail really does have a dead square tail, but the spread fingertips help, and white spots under the wings. Black Kites are better remembered as Fork-Tailed Kites, and I usually identify Whistlers by "does it look like it slept in a bin last night?"

All of that said, this sounds very much like a Square-Tailed Kite. A cracking bird! We had a breeding pair near our old house in the Blue Mountains and I saw them regularly. magnificent things and the Noisy Miners hate them above all other birds.


On 21 January 2014 05:42, Evan Beaver <> wrote:

Sounds like a Square-Tail Kite to me.

On 21/01/2014 4:14 AM, "jude hopwood" <> wrote:
Dear All,

A large, long and broad winged-raptor flying in broad circles over and around grass and shrubby area. Fairly sure the tail was squared off but can't be 100% certain.  Cruising shape was not flat but as there was significant wind, it wasn't clear whether the v of the wings in soaring was typical or not. Fingered wingtips AND a clearly white! tail. There was barring on wings and tail and lighter patterning on lightish brown underwings but I was driving at the time of sighting and cannot confirm any specific shape to the pattern. By the time I stopped the car and grabbed the binoculars, the bird was out of sight.

Anyone with suggestions as to where to start with identification?

Evan Beaver
Kambah, ACT
lat=-35.38, lon=149.04
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