ID Help - Square-tailed Black Kite?

To: Philip Veerman <>
Subject: ID Help - Square-tailed Black Kite?
From: Harry Nyström <>
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 09:47:07 +0100
Hello everyone,

The jury has spoken: the bird is clearly a dark morph Little Eagle. I
received almost 20 replies and they were (almost) unanimous.

Hmm, at least my original gut feeling was correct: not a Square-tailed Kite
but something else. But I have to admit that it was a bird I didn't
originally even consider, as I had already forgotten about the dark morph
(even though also I have seen one). Now that the correct species has been
called, it's easy to agree with the ID and see the things I originally
missed while reviewing the photo. I think I learned a little something
about identifying birds of prey, and I hope also others found this topic

Thank you all for your input and help. I'll pass the news along to my mate


2013/3/21 Philip Veerman <>

> Harry,
> My ISP has crashed this morning and I have been trying to send this. I hope
> my message doesn't come through many times (each slightly improved on the
> last).
> Absolutely not a Square-tailed Kite (not even remotely close, on many
> features) and nearly as clearly, not a Black Kite. The observer was
> probably
> seeing lots of Black Kites there, so it certainly correct to state that
> this
> one is different to them (more by shape and behaviour than what just shows
> on a photo). The curious (and instructive for future thought) mistake was
> then in only considering one other very different species, in the mix of
> "possibilities". Making a wrong assumption on maybe just the name, or
> simply
> not looking at a different page in a field guide book.
> As unanimously agreed, it is a certainly a Little Eagle. Yes it has a
> square
> tail, which is one of the clearest features of a Little Eagle but the
> square
> tail is way too short for either Kite. All the other features available
> clearly and only fit the Little Eagle.
> For what it is worth, in spite of the similarity of names (including that
> years ago the Black Kite was called Fork-tailed Kite, the Square-tailed
> Kite
> is very different in appearance and behaviour from a Black Kite.
> Philip
> -----Original Message-----From: 
>  On Behalf Of Harry
> Nyström
> Sent: Thursday, 21 March 2013 1:13 AM   To:
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] ID Help - Square-tailed Black Kite?
> Hello again from Finland,
> I would like to get a quick confirmation to a bird ID matter. The bird in
> question was photographed near Forbes, NSW in January, 2012 by my colleague
> Markku.
> He was showing me some photos when we came across with this one he titled a
> Square-tailed Kite. I was immediately hit with the impression that the bird
> has too short wings and its face and fingers are too dark for a
> Square-tailed Kite, although the tail is not clearly notched. I said to him
> that I think it is a Black Kite, but he insists otherwise, so we would like
> someone local with experience to both species to settle the score.
> My question is: Is this only a Black Kite that is moulting it's tail (a so
> called "square-tailed" Black Kite) or is this really a Square-tailed Kite?
> I
> noticed that the middle feathers of the tail are very worn (pointy and
> long), but the outermost tail feathers seem fresh (shorter, but with a
> smooth round tip), which could support my initial reaction to the bird. But
> then again, I am happy to admit being wrong if that's the case.
> Opinions are well appreciated:
> Cheers,
> -Harry
> ===============================

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