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Just another buzzard? Knoydart, UK (1 Viewer)

apjkerr

New member
Hi All

I'm no bird expert, but was walking in Knoydart today and whilst I could identify many a buzzard, there was one bird I wasn't 100% on (mostly due to the way it seemed to cut through the air and some lighter colouring. Photos to quite as clear as i'd like.

Thanks for any help!

Screenshot 2020-09-27 174251.jpg

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Ratal

Well-known member
Hi All

I'm no bird expert, but was walking in Knoydart today and whilst I could identify many a buzzard, there was one bird I wasn't 100% on (mostly due to the way it seemed to cut through the air and some lighter colouring. Photos to quite as clear as i'd like.

Thanks for any help!

View attachment 738512

View attachment 738513

View attachment 738514

There is something about this bird thats ringing alarm bells in my brain even as I sit here at the laptop. For me? Something isn't sitting right. The russet tones and the white windows on the upper wing near the primaries... BRB - Goign to hit up the bird books.
 

Ratal

Well-known member
Hi All

I'm no bird expert, but was walking in Knoydart today and whilst I could identify many a buzzard, there was one bird I wasn't 100%....

View attachment 738514


I see a Steppe buzzard every time I look at this pic.

Pale base to primaries, the tail itself, the rufous colouring... I've never seen a common buzzard like this in 40 years of birding. But I have seen Steppe Buzzard in this exact colouration.
 

Ratal

Well-known member
20200928_001835.jpg


Pale upper wing patch at base of primaries, tail, the rufus colouration, I just cannot shake that this needs re-finding, and hopefully soon.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
It would be a very brave person to try and claim a vulpinus Common Buzzard in the UK on the basis of these images. Eastern Common Buzzards can be almost identical to nominates (especially grey/brown plumages) and both are highly variable with intergrades and while vagrancy is a possibility this time of year, it has yet to make it on the British list. I would stick to Common Buzzard unless it can be proven otherwise.
 

Ratal

Well-known member
It would be a very brave person to try and claim a vulpinus Common Buzzard in the UK on the basis of these images. Eastern Common Buzzards can be almost identical to nominates (especially grey/brown plumages) and both are highly variable with intergrades and while vagrancy is a possibility this time of year, it has yet to make it on the British list. I would stick to Common Buzzard unless it can be proven otherwise.

It is why I said it needs re-finding, because I am 80% on Steppe. It is the tail and primaries that are crippling me.

Deffo needs a refind.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
It is why I said it needs re-finding, because I am 80% on Steppe. It is the tail and primaries that are crippling me.

Deffo needs a refind.

Even if it were re-found, it’s unlikely this plumage could be assignable since it’s one of the variable phenotypes that’s found in both taxa - I see nothing here to exclude Buteo buteo and given the range, the default is the same.
 

Ratal

Well-known member
Even if it were re-found, it’s unlikely this plumage could be assignable since it’s one of the variable phenotypes that’s found in both taxa - I see nothing here to exclude Buteo buteo and given the range, the default is the same.

I see nothing to exclude Steppe. Except location.

And people laughed when a Bearded Vulture was reported. Recent memory too.
 

Ratal

Well-known member
It must be very exiting to go birding on the assumption all extremely unlikely rarities must be ruled out before deciding on the most common one :king:

Oh to continue this battle of wits, but alas, my momma always told me " Never to pick a fight with someone who is half armed, as beating on the disabled is poor form."

So I'll leave you be.
 

lou salomon

the birdonist
such rufous tones including in tail occure in nominate buteo from time to time. and you'd need really excellent pics to claim a steppe buzzard in a western european context.
 

Ratal

Well-known member
such rufous tones including in tail occure in nominate buteo from time to time. and you'd need really excellent pics to claim a steppe buzzard in a western european context.

Which is why I'm hoping it is refound. Beautiful colouring though and it is scant wonder that it caught the attention of the hill Walker.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
It would be a very brave person to try and claim a vulpinus Common Buzzard in the UK on the basis of these images. Eastern Common Buzzards can be almost identical to nominates (especially grey/brown plumages) and both are highly variable with intergrades and while vagrancy is a possibility this time of year, it has yet to make it on the British list. I would stick to Common Buzzard unless it can be proven otherwise.

I agree but this bird doesn't quite fit a regular CB for me either, no sign of the white, underwingl bar that's usually, fairly obvious and a constant feature of CB.
 

stevethehydra

Well-known member
I've seen Common Buzzards looking very like this, including one over the M5 in Somerset last summer, which also looked bigger to me than the other (dark, not red-tailed) CB it was circling with. As Steppe is typically smaller than nominate, I think these birds are not Steppe. Might be a slightly far-out theory, but I have wondered if some of them may originate from hybridisation between CB and escaped (from falconers) Red-tailed Hawks.

I momentarily wondered about Rough-legged Buzzard for this bird, but I think it is within the wide variety of Common Buzzard, if somewhat atypical. Definitely a Buteo though, despite Knoydart being a good place to see both species of eagles!
 

tconzemi

Tom
Supporter
Europe
... Might be a slightly far-out theory, but I have wondered if some of them may originate from hybridisation between CB and escaped (from falconers) Red-tailed Hawks.

interesring thought as the most unusual feathers for a CB in this bird is the dark patagium, but CB is extremely variable and better pictures needed
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Might be a slightly far-out theory, but I have wondered if some of them may originate from hybridisation between CB and escaped (from falconers) Red-tailed Hawks.

Yes that did cross my mind but Common Buzzards, as noted can and do show red tails https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/227233461

and although a RTH feature, also dark patagial stripes especially if contrasting with paler coverts

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/262350881

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/204528321

This looks like a ‘typical melting pot’ Common Buzzard to me ie with no specific phenotype to define it (much the same way as ‘vulpinus’ often defies phenological definition). Without much clearer images, it’s not possible to say otherwise.
 
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