Well (contra Anthea) I wouldn't say that is the best way. That is one of
many features and relies on a side view. It depends on the viewing (or even
the hearing) and whether it is perched or flying. From a flying below view,
apart from the significant different in wing markings (which probably could
not be picked by David) and wing tip spread, I'd suggest the best way is
tail shape, long and always a rounded tip in the Whistling Kite and square
to fan shaped in the Little Eagle. Most field guides cover these points, the
new book by Stephen Debus covers these things best (because it is just about
raptors). I don't know the current status of either species there but I
don't recall seeing either, in my many years in Box Hill and surrounds.
David mentions "The square tail" and if that is certain, it rules out
Whistling Kite. (Don't claim it as a Square tailed Kite unless other
features match that.)
On Behalf Of David Clark
Sent: Saturday, 23 March 2013 8:35 PM To: brian fleming; birding-aus
Subject: Raptor over Box Hill, Vic today
Unfortunately, the distance and altitude meant that I really only got a look
at the ventral surface.
On Sat, Mar 23, 2013 at 7:59 PM, brian fleming
> Distant raptors are hard to ID.
> The best way to distinguish between the Whistling Kite and Little
> Eagle is wing angle. Seen from ahead or astern, Whistling Kite flies
> with its elbows up and wingtips pointing down; it has a long tail.
> Little Eagle flies with its wings quite flat and wing-ends flex
> upwards just a little. It has a short square tail.
> Hope this helps,
> Anthea Fleming
> On 23/03/2013 7:17 PM, David Clark wrote:
>> I saw a large raptor soaring over the Box Hill football ground at
>> about 1800 today. It was trending in a southeasterly direction
>> towards Blackburn when I lost sight of it.
>> It was 60-80m above the ground and, with the cloud cover, was at the
>> limit of my unassisted eyes. The square tail and general appearance
>> suggested Little Eagle or Whistling Kite.
>> Did anyone else see it?
>> Sent from my iPhone
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