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Is this a short toed eagle or NOT? ) (1 Viewer)

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Gleb Berloff

Guest
A debate about the identity of this bird has been raging all day. the photo is horrible- but with a distance of more than 500 metres this is the best my 126x zoom could pull off.
I think this is a short-toed eagle due to the white underwings, the brown-black back with the brown exactly in the same place as that of the eagle and the dark head, BUT..
Another ornithologist thinks this is a booted eagle because it has all of the rear wing feathers black. However, I am unconvinced because I have not seen a booted eagle with a head as dark as this!
Taken in Russia, Zhigulevsky nature reserve
So... short-toed or booted?
 

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tconzemi

Tom
Supporter
Europe
Update: Identified as short-toed eagle

no way can this be a STE, under no light conditions can you have such a contrast between flight feathers and covers in STE; in the darkest and most contrasting individuals, the covers will be darker than the flight feathers, furthermore dark head is Possible in both Booted and STE, but STE may show a bigger bib. Is it a Booted, maybe, pic is terrible; is it a STE, no.
 
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Gleb Berloff

Guest
I have not seen any booted images like that. Nor does anyone agree- it was identified for me. Furthermore, I am not entirely sure that those eagles are in the region anyway. I don't think so.
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
Another ornithologist thinks this is a booted eagle because it has all of the rear wing feathers black. However, I am unconvinced because I have not seen a booted eagle with a head as dark as this!
A Booted Eagle's head can appear quite dark simply because it contrasts with the bird's white body and underwing feathers. A Booted Eagle with a head that appears dark brown is still more likely than a Short-toed Eagle with dark remiges. For example, I've recently seen one individual with a dark brown mask and rufous "collar", contrasting sharply with its white throat and body.
For example (another individual than the one I've just mentioned):
 

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CARERY

Well-known member
Agree with Tom, can't imagine this could have been a STE. With all due respect it's a crappy heavily cropped photo. To claim a STE as safe ID would be very bold.
 
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Gleb Berloff

Guest
Sorry, but not a booted either with a long tail like that. What shall we do? )
I mean, I can actually SEE the pattern on its underwing- look in closely- its towards the front. It looks exactly like STE, except for the black parts- but there are images on the internet with a black band like that of an STE, though smaller. The back is exactly the same colour, the tail is indicative of an STE, it is TOO LONG for a booted eagle. The underwing pattern also matches. Head colour also matches.
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
Sorry, but not a booted either with a long tail like that. What shall we do? )
I mean, I can actually SEE the pattern on its underwing- look in closely- its towards the front. It looks exactly like STE, except for the black parts- but there are images on the internet with a black band like that of an STE, though smaller. The back is exactly the same colour, the tail is indicative of an STE, it is TOO LONG for a booted eagle. The underwing pattern also matches. Head colour also matches.
Booted Eagle has a proportionally longer tail than Short-toed Eagle...
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
At the end of the day we can all only give our opinions based on the photographs you have submitted, we haven't seen it in the flesh, and indeed photographs showing birds in flight can easily give a false impression.

But even with these blurred photographs certain colouration can be seen.

At the end of the day you have to choose what you think they are and live with your decision. But if you asked 100 birders whether your birds were ST Eagle and LL Buzzard based on these images, I bet 99% would say they are not.
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
I really wouldn’t waste time on this...

You have to accept that you cannot identify everything you see and / or photograph and you just have to accept it. As for trying with images like that - it smacks of desperation then arguing the finer points and proportions just devalues the whole exercise.

If you want STE - go to Tarifa opposite Tangier in mid-Sept. one year i saw over 4k which is a substantial part of the World population. You will get great views and can also start ageing/sexing them:t:

Laurie -
 

Rotherbirder

Well-known member
I really wouldn’t waste time on this...

You have to accept that you cannot identify everything you see and / or photograph and you just have to accept it. As for trying with images like that - it smacks of desperation then arguing the finer points and proportions just devalues the whole exercise.

If you want STE - go to Tarifa opposite Tangier in mid-Sept. one year i saw over 4k which is a substantial part of the World population. You will get great views and can also start ageing/sexing them:t:

Laurie -

Agree - accept as one that got away, put it down to experience & move on!

RB
 

harr1y

Well-known member
If i had saw this in the field i wouldve put it down as a possible Booted Eagle and left it at that ..as that was what my first impression was on seeing the photo .. as neither STE nor Booted are rare .. i saw both just driving around the south of Spain .. im sorry to sound so glib but i dont thing it merits a raging debate as at the end there will not be a diffinitive answer owing to the quality of the photograph ... As the song goes ♫ ♫ Let it go, let it go ♫ ♫
 

Valéry Schollaert

Respect animals, don't eat or wear their body or s
It is a Booted Eagle, and the photo is quite easy actually, I wonder why to make a problem

Perfect black flight feathers contrasting with white underwing coverts, typical darkish head, pale upperwing coverts also contrasting with dark flight feathers from above.

STE not an option here, head and body much too big for a Honey Buzzard... I don't see which other conclusion that Booted Eagle we can reach here.
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
I'm always loathe to firmly identify any bird from a photo of such poor quality but, for reasons that others have pointed out, I can't see this as anything other than a Booted Eagle. I don't know who gave the firm identification but it certainly isn't a Short-toed Eagle. Having looked up the location of the Zhigulevsky reserve whilst it does seem beyond the usual range of Booted Eagle it isn't so far that its occurrence there could be discounted. E-bird shows a record of Booted Eagle from c250 km to the NW - not too far particularly as coverage in that part of the world is likely to be limited.
 
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Gleb Berloff

Guest
Problem 1- both are rare in Russia
I'll talk to others, but I am indeed becoming convinced that this photo is too bad for identification. Had I seen it head-on I would have perfectly identified it. I can see that it can be a booted eagle as well, despite the points I have pointed out. Thanks.
 
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Gleb Berloff

Guest
Yes- I accept now that this is a booted eagle. A strange colouration of it, but a booted nonetheless. Thank you. I had trouble believeing it because it was so STE like in my opinion... Thank you. Oh, has anyone else tried taking pictures of raptors in bad weather from a distance of a thousand metres in the wind without a tripod from the deck of a shaking boat?!
So... how do I distinguish between the two, for later reference?
 
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Gleb Berloff

Guest
Oh, and does anybody know how to change or delete an image I posted on our gallery? I would like to change it to read booted eagle instead of STE...
 

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