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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Small falcon ID - Düsseldorf, Germany (1 Viewer)

David_

Well-known member
Germany
Hello,

today while walking through a park (not in the inner city but at the edge of the city and only separated by a smaller forest from extensive fields) I noticed a small raptor being chased by a magpie. Sadly I don‘t have any pictures but may be you can help me nevertheless.
They flew over me very fast and were out of sight behind some trees in just a 2-3 seconds. I‘m pretty sure it was a falcon and initially thought of kestrel. But the magpie was little bigger than the raptor (longer and also the wingspan seemed to be a bit wider). From my understanding a kestrels wingspan normally would be larger than a magpies. So is this still in size variation for kestrel/magpie? If not, Hobby or Merlin instead of Kestrel (I am not too familiar with Merlin)? As I said only saw the birds underside for 2-3 seconds as they were flying at full speed.
 

Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Hello David,
not a confident answer, but I hope useful:
  • Magpie often seems a larger bird, than it actually is. Is it only the long tail? I havent found an answer yet.
  • Have you excluded a Sparrowhawk?
  • When chased by another bird, Sparrowhawks and Kestrels can fly "superspeed" (as is to be expected), but your description reminded me of a Merlin. Reason:
  • I often got the impression, that flying/gliding Merlins are faster than Sparrowhawks, when flying in search/attack modus over fields. More, I got the impression, that Merlins seems to hold their speed at least (or even gain speed) during gliding periodes, while Sparrowhawks seems to loose speed during glides and therefore seems to need some wing-flaps to gain speed again. I still need more observations to test this.
Conclusion? In an subuarban area, my bet still would be Sparrowhawk or Kestrel. But who knows ...
 

jurek

Well-known member
I am afraid it is unidentifiable. I agree that a sparrowhawk is most likely, because it is small and commonly occurs in city parks in Germany in October.

Male merlin could have a wingspan slightly shorter than magpie, but it should be identified on plumage. Merlin, seen alone, is not that visibly smaller than a kestrel. It is very uncommon, although it might occur in city parks, but does not normally hunt between trees. For merlin, characteristic is its flight: rather fast, straight line, with very quick and deep wingbeats, like it was in a great hurry.
 

David_

Well-known member
Germany
Thanks,

I still think it was a kestrel but I will leave it as unidentified. I excluded sparrowhawk by wingshape and I am fully aware that Merlin would be highly unlikely in a park. I am just surprised that a magpie would look noticeably bigger than a kestrel.

Also on a side note: Until yesterday everytime I saw a raptor being chased by crows or magpies they would try get away by maneuvering (don‘t know if this is right English word). This one tried to get away by flying in a straight line at full speed and it looked like he was gaining separation to the magpie. Interesting to see different strategies
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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