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Any chance to identify this falcon? (1 Viewer)

Shumi

Active member
Dear All - any chance to identify the raptor based on these (unfortunately, quite poor!) pics? I thought I was looking at a peregrine falcon as i was taking these photographs in twilight on Sunday - but I am not quite sure now, as the body does look quite massive and the contrast on the outer edges of the underwing appears to be quite stark...

Pictures were taken near Kiev, Ukraine. Peregrine falcons do stay during winter in our area, while any of the larger falcons would be a huge rarity.

Would be grateful for your thoughts. Thanks!
 

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dantheman

Bah humbug
The images are indeed cropped, but the proportions of the bird and the picture itself were not altered
Aha - I'm referring to it having eaten and the crop (food storage/part of it's digestive system) is full and distended - hence making it look bulkier at the front than it would otherwise ... ;-)
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
The images are indeed cropped, but the proportions of the bird and the picture itself were not altered
Indeed the proportions of the head, wings and tail are unaffected - it’s only the area below the throat/upper breast that looks enlarged. It’s more noticeable because of the angle of the shot but Peregrines are very barrel chested anyway (that and the very large feet along with the hood are key ID features here). Re your comment on underwing: Dusky wingtips and darker tips to the outer primaries are not unusual, more as the feathers age (sometimes looking more contrasty on Northern types) but it’s underexposed due to the low light so perhaps that’s what you mean.
 
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Shumi

Active member
Aha - I'm referring to it having eaten and the crop (food storage/part of it's digestive system) is full and distended - hence making it look bulkier at the front than it would otherwise ... ;-)
Clear, thanks :)) Indeed, it appears that the falcon had eaten not long before i took that picture. The body still appeared to me quite massive overall (for a peregrine falcon), but perhaps that's just my impression
 

Shumi

Active member
Indeed the proportions of the head, wings and tail are unaffected - it’s only the area below the throat/upper breast that looks enlarged. It’s more noticeable because of the angle of the shot but Peregrines are very barrel chested anyway (that and the very large feet along with the hood are key ID features here). Re your comment on underwing: Dusky wingtips and darker tips to the outer primaries are not unusual, more as the feathers age (sometimes looking more contrasty on Northern types) but it’s underexposed due to the low light so perhaps that’s what you mean.
Clear, thank you!
 

osprey0311

Well-known member
"Dusky wingtips and darker tips to the outer primaries are not unusual"
Hello Deb!
Yes sure, You are right about wingtips on the outer primaries. But look at the photo №5 (IMG 3585), I can see a contrast between darkish underwing coverts (at least primaries coverts) and palish ground colour of outer primaries. As far as I know this feature is more better for bigger falcon (Saker,Gyr) and not so usual for Peregrine which has more plain pattern of underwing...
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Hello Deb!
Yes sure, You are right about wingtips on the outer primaries. But look at the photo №5 (IMG 3585), I can see a contrast between darkish underwing coverts (at least primaries coverts) and palish ground colour of outer primaries. As far as I know this feature is more better for bigger falcon (Saker,Gyr) and not so usual for Peregrine which has more plain pattern of underwing...
Well the others that have ID'd this as a Peregrine on the thread will have their own ways of defending their position so I will leave it to others such as Tom, Rafael and Fern to elaborate if they want to but this is what I think answering you as fully as I can:

I can make out yellow (ish) feet, just about, so it would have to be an adult or young adult of any of these sp. I agree it's hard to make out plumage details but it appears to have a fairly solid hood and perhaps rufous tinges to the nape (better for Pere). Most adult Saker have brownish underparts heavily marked on the coverts and belly/chest which I don't see here - It looks greyish to me indicating fine black bars or fine black spotting. This might not rule out an adult 'grey' Gyr with a dark hood, some indeed having very Pere-like head patterns but the flight feathers I think would not show this distinctly dusky trailing edge to the primaries (which is quite unique to Peregrine cf to other large falcons) and would show a higher contrast between the coverts and flight feathers imo. Also don't forget, flight feathers against the light can show as lighter contrasts to coverts simply because of the way light behaves shining through the flight feathers on the wing of a bird cf to the solid part of the wing, ie the coverts/patagium etc. Structure looks fine for Peregrine, I see a comparatively fairly long slim wing and comparatively less compact shape than might be expected for Gyr but that is a bit subjective on my part.

Finally and absolutely not least, location, location, location ;) Gyr (wild at least) would be a mega rarity in the Ukraine (afaik!)

I agree, the plumage is not clearly presented but there are shadows/light etc that disfigure the true nature of the plumage imo and while the full crop does give the impression of a stockier bird, in addition to my remarks about plumage above, the location is enough for me to say yes, as I did in my first post, 'A Peregrine is most likely'.
 
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tconzemi

Tom
Supporter
Europe
Sometimes it's hard to believe what people see in crappy pictures full of artefacts, I fully subscribe to Deb's summary, mine would be even shorter:
  • large Falcon
  • dark looking face
  • very pointed wingtips (contra Gyr)
So most probably Pergrine, period.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
I fully subscribe to Deb's summary, mine would be even shorter:
But Tom, you are rarely challenged on your IDs (justifiably so!) 😁. I on the other hand, have to be prepared frequently to provide a full explanation of my reasonings as my efforts do not inspire the same confidence in others! Oh just to say ‘it is this‘ and for that to be adequate 😉
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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