harrier or kite? struggling

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ekblang2
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harrier or kite? struggling

I've mulled over these for a while but just cant figure it out.

These birds were circling a fair bit and quite low, and definitely bigger than a nankeen kestrel. More like a harrier or whistling kite size, but i'm thrown off by the pale colouring (partly due to the photo quality). They are circling a swampy creekline which is thick with 2m high reeds and woolly teatree etc, so i've wondered if it is swamp harrier.

Any suggestions appreciated

AJ Anderson
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What is the general location?

Tail does look good for Whistling Kite, but wings don't really. Still, possible Juvenile W.K's.

Male Swamp Harrier's can get very pale as they age. And described behaviour is correct.

ekblang2
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Thanks, i'm in the western district volcanic plains region, near Lismore.

We have a wide range of birds of prey, and i see a few whistling kites over our more wooded areas quite regularly, but i've also seen little eagle, peregrin falcon, nankeen kestrel, wedgies, black shouldered kites and brown falcon (and one fleeting sighting of something recently that was none of the above with quite a buff underside/legs). I have records from the 90s/2000s of a bird watcher seeing swamp harriers on the place though. That doesn't narrow it down!

I feel like darker patterns under the wing and the WK long 'fingers' should should up a little in these images but they are quite washed out so who knows!

AJ Anderson
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"Dark accipiter with rounded tail - Brown Goshawk"

From an expert. I agree. And some more evidence:

graemechapman.com.au

Lightuningbird
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Looks like a goshawk, but why is it so white? It could be the white morph of a gray goshawk, but they are rear and don’t like the company of people.

Wimmera mally region, Vic.

AJ Anderson
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Lightuningbird wrote:

Looks like a goshawk, but why is it so white?

Subspecies Didimus is paler.

dwatsonbb
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It’s not white enough to be a full Grey Goshawk (white morph). Quite often see them here in Tassie, and they are very white. It might just be a trick of light, making it appear that pale?

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

ekblang2
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Ok, sorry everyone, I've just found another of the photos which i think shows it just being a brown falcon. Appreciate your time nonetheless!

They are definitely rendered paler by the photos, and would be some version of brown, but i feel like darker patterns of certain other species would still be apparent. The other more front-on image did look more like a harrier or brown goshawk though.

Lightuningbird
Lightuningbird's picture

Brown falcons are certainly confusing, with so many verations it can make them hard to identify. I found a feather once, couldn’t identity it, later found out it’s a brown falcon’s.

Wimmera mally region, Vic.

dwatsonbb
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Looking at your last photo, can see the “tear drop” under the eye, which would support brown falcon, which according to the Morcombe app brown falcon also has a light morph.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

ekblang2
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Hi All,

Thanks for your input.

Just thought i would follow up that i've since seen a swamp harrier pair (100% certainty) in roughly the same area last weekend. Looking at the grainy image in this info page http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Circus-approximans my pictures are pretty similar but i'll happily hold the jury out on the final verdict. The bird in the pics were definitely circling round and round, in a way which i feel is more harrier behaviour, but the face markings also raise questions. Just happy to have harriers on the place :) can only imagine they are running out of suitable spots to breed.

 and @UrbanBirdsOz  @birdsinbackyards
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