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ID Falcon Bosque del Apache NM USA (1 Viewer)

I realize I am a little late in this discussion, but I only just came on it while looking for Bosque del Apache threads. I didn't see anyone mention the possibility that this bird could be an Aplomado falcon. I was at the Bosque del Apache in early October and saw a pair of Aplomado falcons. I wouldn't have believed it myself because they are very rare, but I got a fantastic view of them in my spotting scope and I got to look at them for over 10 minutes. Our ID was also confirmed by another pair of birders. I contacted the Bosque office to see if they knew about these birds. They were aware of them already and were interested in knowing where the falcons were hanging out that day. At least one of the birds was banded so someone was keeping track of them.

From your picture I could not exclude the possibility that your bird was an Aplomado falcon. They are roughly the same size as a Peregrine, but they have slimmer wings and a longer tail and an overall slimmer appearance, which could give the impression you had of it being a bit small for a Peregrine. From underneath without a really close, good look these birds could look similar, especially if the Aplomado falcons were juveniles. The ones I saw still had a little juvenile streaking on the breast which could make it look even more similar to the Peregrine from below. The angle of your picture is such that I think the tail length cannot be properly judged. You may have a better memory of how the tail looked. You may never be able to ID this bird to your satisfaction. I certainly couldn't exclude that it is a Peregrine, but it might actually be an Aplomado falcon. It wouldn't be a totally wild possibility because those birds have been there this autumn. Here is a link about the reintroduction of the Aplomado falcons in NM in case you are interested.

http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/fo/Socorro_Field_Office/features/rare_falcons_back.html
 
I can see where you`re coming from looking at the vent
area,but breast area shows no hint of dark patches that
you would expect in Apolmado,so along with all other
reasons,still a Peg.
Mark
 
I really don't think the coloring and patterns are far off for an Aplomado falcon, except that one would expect a darker more distinct belly band. More convincing, however, is a picture I found on the internet of an Aplomado in flight in a very similar angle and position. I'm not very good with photography angles and how that can alter appearances, so I was looking to see if I could find a picture of an Aplomado with the tail looking that deceptively short. But nope, the Aplomado's tail is just way longer than the posted photo. It's hard to hide a tail like that. To me that defeats the Aplomado idea. It looks like the Peregrine falcon is really the only reasonable alternative.

Here is the link to the Aplomado in flight:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3261/2463069548_47a8a3e46b.jpg?v=0
 
Is there any chance that this is an escaped falconers bird, there is something that feels a bit wrong for Peregrine shape-wise (yes its the wings esp the long arm to hand) and the central breast is very lightly marked. If I saw it here, I'd be thinking that it might be one of those nasty hybrid things - maybe a saker x merlin.

Not to say its not a Peregrine.
 
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Is there any chance that this is an escaped falconers bird, there is something that feels a bit wrong for Peregrine shape-wise (yes its the wings esp the long arm to hand) and the central breast is very lightly marked. If I saw it here, I'd be thinking that it might be one of those nasty hybrid things - maybe a saker x merlin.

Not to say its not a Peregrine.

As far as a I'm aware, Jane, falconing is significantly less popular on this side of the pond. Certainly to the point where the possibility of an escapee falcon wouldn't even cross most birders minds unless they saw tethers. And at a National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico? Can falconers take their birds to NWRs?? It doesn't line up for me.
 
I've just come across this heated debate;) and I agree that its a Peregrine and to me its an Imm Tundrius type . Incidentally the F.P Tundrius subspecies are slightly narrower of wing and longer winged than Say F.P Anatum or F.P Pealei.
this is said to be a slight adaption of Migratory peregrines F.P Calidus in northern Siberia which migrate to india and even to the tip of south Africa also have this narrower wing profile which do make them appear longer winged and slimmer in appearance than say a F.P Peregrinus. I hope this has not added more coal to the fire:t:

Andrew
 
HI Alex, is it common for Peregrines your way to have strongly marked breast sides/auxilliaries and apparently pale centre of the breast, I'm not au fait with racial variation, but its seems a little out of kilter - also though there is a strong moustache, it does seem quite thin.

Its probably not wise to read too much into a single photo, but if it looked like it does in this pic consistently, I'd not be sure it was a Peregrine. If it were an escape, perhaps it would gravitate towards food sources.

Edited to add that I've seen the comment on calidus/tundrae type Peregrines, that may well be the answer, but are they not big buggers. (that is a technical term)
 
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HI Alex, is it common for Peregrines your way to have strongly marked breast sides/auxilliaries and apparently pale centre of the breast, I'm not au fait with racial variation, but its seems a little out of kilter - also though there is a strong moustache, it does seem quite thin.

Its probably not wise to read too much into a single photo, but if it looked like it does in this pic consistently, I'd not be sure it was a Peregrine. If it were an escape, perhaps it would gravitate towards food sources.

Edited to add that I've seen the comment on calidus/tundrae type Peregrines, that may well be the answer, but are they not big buggers. (that is a technical term)

Jane , Loving the technical term Big Buggers:-O Yes some of the calidus Peregrines are but the Tundrius type in the U.S are smaller especially the tiercels although there obviously is room for individual variation even amongst the clutch of siblings. And i agree about reading too much into one photo but it is a peregrine of that I'm sure. A hybrid I doubt very much also cannot see any evidence of anklets which even if the jesses have long gone the anklets stay on for quite a time and this looks like an Imm |=)|
 
I was amazed the first time a saw a male peregrine in the hand at how small he was. Definitely not a big bugger (I love technical terms like that, too).

That said, this guy is a peregrine to me, too. The wings do look long and narrow, but I agree with the others that it's an artifact of the angle. The coloration is wrong for aplomado and as someone noted, the tail too short. The bird is also too light colored for merlin. The only legitimate alternative would be prairie, and as noted in post 2, no dark armpits.

And as another comment, an osprey would never raise its wings in that deep of a dihedral. The only raptor that does is a falcon.
 
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Jane , Loving the technical term Big Buggers:-O Yes some of the calidus Peregrines are but the Tundrius type in the U.S are smaller especially the tiercels although there obviously is room for individual variation even amongst the clutch of siblings. And i agree about reading too much into one photo but it is a peregrine of that I'm sure. A hybrid I doubt very much also cannot see any evidence of anklets which even if the jesses have long gone the anklets stay on for quite a time and this looks like an Imm |=)|

Can it really be an immature with an unmarked (apparently) breast? I could see light barring getting blurred out by the camera, but not streaking, especially when the flank/auxilliary markings are so clear.

I'm not really arguing hard for anything more than keeping the discussion going btw.
 
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