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Help with accipiter ID. (1 Viewer)

ScubaDoc

Member
India
Hello everyone,

My name is Partha and I'm from Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (IN).
This morning, I saw a smallish raptor with dark brown upperparts with prominent irregular white spots on the back and a lighter coloured head with prominent brown streaks.
The tail was notched with alternating dark and pale bars.
The underparts were white with brown streaking in the breast and belly, and barring on flanks and thighs.
In flight, the undersides of the wings also showed barring.
The tail showed a wide subterminal dark bar with alternating dark and pale bars. The pale bars were almost twice as wide as the dark bars.
The bird had a prominent white supercilium with yellow iris (no yellow eye ring though), and a light yellow cere. There was no gular stripe either.
The bird had fairly long primaries extending about halfway down the tail. The primaries had 5 fingers, with P4 being the longest.
I have tentatively IDed this raptor as a Juvenile Japanese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter gularis). However, I've only been birding for a couple of years now, and am very shaky in my identification of raptors. I'd really appreciate learning from the experts in this forum and I hope to hear from all of you. The blurring and softness are due to the extreme range (all shots at 600mm on an overcast morning) but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that these images are sufficient for ID.
 

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andyb39

Well-known member
I don't see any alternative to Japanese - Shikra doesn't occur, the tail pattern among other thing rules out Besra and Chinese only shows 4 fingers.
 

ScubaDoc

Member
India
I don't see any alternative to Japanese - Shikra doesn't occur, the tail pattern among other thing rules out Besra and Chinese only shows 4 fingers.
Thanks for confirming that. My local birder friends have identified it as Chinese... Apparently the 4 fingers thing is not set in stone. I came across an article where Chinese has also been described with 5 fingers, the difference being that Chinese has P3 as the longest, whereas Japanese has P4 as the longest primary.
 

andyb39

Well-known member
Apparently the 4 fingers thing is not set in stone.

I wasn't aware of that. As for the longest primary, I've just looked at a couple of images of Japanese where P3 appeared to be the longest. Anyway, isn't juvenile Chinese darker, usually with a grey hood and a heavy gular stripe?
 

ScubaDoc

Member
India
I wasn't aware of that. As for the longest primary, I've just looked at a couple of images of Japanese where P3 appeared to be the longest. Anyway, isn't juvenile Chinese darker, usually with a grey hood and a heavy gular stripe?
True that... I discussed this with my expert friends, and they were leaning towards Chinese based on the sparse/absent markings in the underwing coverts.
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
Hi Partha! I'd like to take a moment to to offer you a warm welcome to you from the staff at BF (y)

We're glad you found us and please join in wherever you like ;)
 

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