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Eagle? Chambal river, MP, India (1 Viewer)

nartreb

Speak softly and carry a long lens
River guide had a tentative ID, but I wanted to check.

I think this is the best view - I have a sharper one, but it shows less of the wing.
 

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That's slightly disappointing (short-toed snake eagle has such a nice ring to it) but also a bit of a relief, since I was getting a Buteo feeling from the photo too. With the naked eye, it was little more than a soaring wing.

Guide was certainly right about the black-bellied tern, which I understand is a rarity (though this river seems to be one place where it's still found regularly).
 

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That's slightly disappointing (short-toed snake eagle has such a nice ring to it) but also a bit of a relief, since I was getting a Buteo feeling from the photo too. With the naked eye, it was little more than a soaring wing.

Guide was certainly right about the black-bellied tern, which I understand is a rarity (though this river seems to be one place where it's still found regularly).

I've seen them on the same river from the Taj Mahal.
 
Japanese Buzzard i think
Jean

Agree, Eastern Buzzard

It's certainly a Buteo, but could I ask for some clarification about the ID as Eastern Buzzard, as opposed to Common/Steppe.

I see Eastern regularly and this bird seems notably different from birds I usually see, for example darker carpal, darker trailing edge to wing, darker 'trousers'. Some of this might be age-related or geographical variation, or down to individual variation (Buteo are very variable!).

I find Asian buzzards really difficult, and have relied a lot on range in the past. From the maps in eBird, Eastern would be out of range in most of India, where Common is in range. So personally I would have put this down as Common.
 
It's certainly a Buteo, but could I ask for some clarification about the ID as Eastern Buzzard, as opposed to Common/Steppe.

I see Eastern regularly and this bird seems notably different from birds I usually see, for example darker carpal, darker trailing edge to wing, darker 'trousers'. Some of this might be age-related or geographical variation, or down to individual variation (Buteo are very variable!).

I find Asian buzzards really difficult, and have relied a lot on range in the past. From the maps in eBird, Eastern would be out of range in most of India, where Common is in range. So personally I would have put this down as Common.

I would echo John's comments but would add that, AFAIK, there no confirmed records of japonicus from the subcontinent and it does not feature on the Indian Avifauna checklist (Praveen 2016). HBW Alive gives it wintering along the whole of the Himalayas while Birdlife Datazone states its an Indian resident, both are misleading and simply incorrect.

Some useful discussion on the complexities of Buteo identification in S/SE Asia, in particular note jalid's comments.

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=371194

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?p=3929536

Added to which there is the real issue of hybrids....

Grahame
 
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It's certainly a Buteo, but could I ask for some clarification about the ID as Eastern Buzzard, as opposed to Common/Steppe.

I see Eastern regularly and this bird seems notably different from birds I usually see, for example darker carpal, darker trailing edge to wing, darker 'trousers'. Some of this might be age-related or geographical variation, or down to individual variation (Buteo are very variable!).

I find Asian buzzards really difficult, and have relied a lot on range in the past. From the maps in eBird, Eastern would be out of range in most of India, where Common is in range. So personally I would have put this down as Common.

To me John, this bird looks to be an amalgum of Rough-legged and Long-legged (not saying it's a hybrid!) and I must admit that the extent of my research on this bird was limited to a google search which showed up a lot of images that look just like it.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Eas...WpRhUIHeItBEwQ_AUoAXoECBEQAw&biw=1366&bih=613
 
I would echo John's comments but would add that, AFAIK, there no confirmed records of japonicus from the subcontinent and it does not feature on the Indian Avifauna checklist (Praveen 2016). HBW Alive gives it wintering along the whole of the Himalayas while Birdlife Datazone states its an Indian resident, both are misleading and simply incorrect.

Some useful discussion on the complexities of Buteo identification in S/SE Asia, in particular note jalid's comments.

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=371194

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?p=3929536

Added to which there is the real issue of hybrids....

Grahame

Fair to say that it's probably unidentifiable in the field then Grahame?

Many of the images I linked to, seem to match this bird very well?
 
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What was the identification from the River Guide, out of interest?

"I think that's a short toed snake eagle". Come to think of it, I'm not 100% sure this photo is of that same bird. I need to check my rejects pile, pretty sure I got bad photos of more than one raptor that day.

update: It turns out the only other overhead raptor I got a photo of was clearly an Egyptian vulture. It's still possible there was a snake-eagle that I never got my camera focused on, and so never pressed the shutter, then confused the sightings in my memory later. The photo sequence puts the buteo photo very roughly around the time I recall the possible eagle sighting (as best I can recall, which is not very well), but maybe not exactly the right time.
 
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FWIW, the current species on the official Bangladesh birds checklist (compiled by Sayam U. Chowdhury and Paul M. Thompson) is Japanese Buzzard. The checklist follows HBW, and I usually use Clements so makes it even more confusing for me. Graham, and any others that can help, what would you expect to be the species in Bangladesh. Because if they're right about Eastern being the expected species in Bangladesh, then they're just overlooked in India. But these are so confusing that it definitely wouldn't be hard to be wrong about it...

Here's a buzzard that seems to be a good candidate for Himalayan, which doesn't have confirmed records in Bangladesh, though surely overlooked?
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?...AI-GJ3sCMC1WHmFi1m0nDyrRzk5jzKcIJhPWl3T&ifg=1

Not sure how much this all adds to the thread, just trying to make sense of expected buteo species in the Indian subcontinent...
 
I think that this is not a Steppe Buzzard, even if that is the most common taxa there. The variation of Steppe Buzzard is enormous, that is a well-known fact, but we will have hard time when trying to find, even in huge flocks of Buzzard over Eilat or Batumi, an adult bird which have at the same time this large and blackish flank-patches, this much pale on sparsely marked breast, and round, black carpal patches. Also, the greyish tail with some rather indistinct barring is uncommon in Steppe Buzzard, but the differences in the tail pattern are rather complex, because of the variation in all species. Steppe Buzzard has generally broader dark trailing edge to the wing than Himalayan/Eastern, but in this case that difference is difficult to judge. Many Himalayan/Eastern individuals have more barred bases to outer primaries than this, but it is easy to find exceptions.

Orientalbirdimages seems to be down at the moment, I would have chosen a small sample from there.

Then we should start thinking if we can decide between Himalayan and Eastern. The differences are incompletely known, and many single birds would probably be difficult or impossible even if we knew much more. I don't see any indications why this could not be a Himalayan. The continental Eastern Buzzards are generally somewhat darker, and more reddish, but with lot of exceptions.

I will have a look at the Bangladesh photos later. Without looking I can say that they will be difficult. It is easy to believe, that some vulpinus, some Himalayan birds, some Chinese mountain birds and some long-distance East Asian birds visit that area now and then, and it will be difficult even to decide which is the default.
 
I would like to thank jalid for his valuable input on this most difficult of topics, much appreciated. I think my earlier comments were a little misleading in simply stating Eastern Buzzard was not on the Indian List I should at least have acknowledged the liklihood that strays could (or should) be expected to reach the Subcontinent. So, the intention was not to diss the OP out of hand. My problem has always been how you separate Eastern from Himalayan away from breeding range and I'm still none the wiser.

OBI images is still down, it has been down for some while now, but there are some useful reference images on eBird.

Himalayan Buzzard https://ebird.org/media/catalog?regionCode=IN&date.yearRange=YALL&taxonCode=combuz9&mediaType=Photo&sort=rating_rank_desc

Eastern Buzzard https://ebird.org/media/catalog?taxonCode=combuz6&sort=rating_rank_desc&mediaType=p&regionCode= including this image of a purported Eastern from B'desh, but how can we safely exclude Himalayan? https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/184897631#_ga=2.58416108.771157526.1581188210-1680397961.1581055024

Seth, I'm not signed up to Facebook and as a result of recent changes can no longer access your link to the B'desh birds.

Grahame
 
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