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China - Buzzard ID (1 Viewer)


Well-known member

I first thought that these two birds were Long-legged Buzzards, but I think Upland Buzzard is actually more likely.

Birds were seen about 100 km west of Dulan on the edge of the Qaidam basin/Kunlun Mountains.

Birds were seen on August 15 but Long-legged appears to be a winter visitor in this part of China.

They seemed too large, heavy built and long-tailed to be Common Buzzard.

Any help would be great.

Best wishes,



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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
I was in that area in the summer and I remember seeing a rather distant buzzard that looked quite similar to this. I (and others in my group) wondered if it might be Long-legged Buzzard but the tour leader (who is very experienced and used to live in this area) said that Upland Buzzard was the normal species in the area and could look very similar to Long-legged. He didn't actually see the bird we'd been looking at but our views were quite distant, so I went along with his explanation.

I'm not sure if that helps, but I suspect ID as Long-legged could be tricky. Upland is certainly quite variable.


Well-known member
Difficult and interesting birds. I hope that I had more field experience of these, but who would not hope so? I too think that they look like larger buzzards. The colour and patterning really resemble Long-legged Buzzard, but there is an irregular necklace - like pattern, especially in the closer bird. It makes head area generally not so pale, especially considering that the lower underparts are very pale, with only restricted dark brown patches. Therefore I think that these do not look like typical LLBs.

I have seen a really rufous adult buzzard resembling LLB in Altai mountains of Russia, in high altitude opean areas, where Upland Buzzard were common - in June. UB are of course extremely variable, but that bird was quite unlike the other individuals we saw. But it is difficult to believe that single LBBs would breed there.

So I think that possibly birds like this, and also my Altai bird, have genes from both species. The hybridisation of these two species is referred to in many sources. But Dulan is quite far east, farther away from the contact zone, so I am not sure.

Did you see many Upland Buzzards there? How about Common or Eastern Buzzards?


Well-known member
Common Buzzard is not impossible, but less likely in that area I think. I don't see it mentioned in reports for the Dulan-Golmud area. We saw "Himalayan" Buzzard in Sichuan and in the Yushu-Nangqian area further south in Qinghai.

Mid August also seems a bit early for migratory LL Buzzard.

We did see Upland Buzzard in the Dulan-Golmud area but they were a lot less common than on the high plateau in Qinghai. Still, it looks like Upland Buzzard is the most likely candidate in August.

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