Raptor ID please

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Raptor ID please
From: "Chris Corben" <>
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 07:46:44 -0500
It has to be an accipiter, not a falcon.
Brown Goshawk.

I am not so sure that Sparrowkawk is that easily dismissed. To me, the face doesn't look that convincing for a Goshawk, but I'm not sure (long time since I've seen either that close). I can easily think the bird looks tiny standing on that post, and what little I can see of a leg looks very slender.

More importantly, I think people are perhaps being misled by the tail shape. As I understand it, the roundness or squareness of the tail is a function of the whole tail, and primarily the relative lengths of outer versus inner rectrices. The outer rectrices of Sparrowhawk may well be more square ended than in Goshawk, making the tail corners look more angular and enhancing the impression of a square tail in Sparrowhawk.But what you are seeing in these photos is just the central rectrices. Do these differ in shape between Goshawk and Sparrowhawk? I know that Sparrowhawk does often look square-tailed when perched, but would it still do so if only the central rectrices were visible?

Cheers, Chris.

Chris Corben
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