Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Unknown Raptors of Tanzania

One year on and I am still trying to figure out a few birds from Tanzania. Mostly they are raptors. I have ideas on most of them as noted below, but if anyone can help out with the ID's I would really appreciated it (click on each image to enlarge).

The next two images were taken in the Pugu Hills. This bird was out a ways and these are the best images I could manage. The overall darkness of this bird (beyond the apparent exposure problems of the photo), broad, short wings, primaries and secondaries paler than the forewing, pale legs, and the pattern of banding in the tail suggest a Brown Snake-Eagle to me.
[ I apparently am on track with this one]

This bird was photographed on the Kenya border northwest of Kilimanjaro at the old natron mine. It is obviously a harrier and appears to be a first year male just molting into it's first adult plumage. Based on the length of the wings in comparison to the tail and the lack of chestnut streaking on the flanks, I am guessing a Pallid Harrier.
[This one was humbling. Now that I have the suggested ID, my comment that it is obviously a harrier is obviously wrong. Eastern Chanting Goshawk. At least it still looks like an immature bird molting into adult plumage]

This photo was taken in Tarangire National Park. One of the large dark eagles but appearing to be not as heavy built or as large as the Golden Eagle I am familiar with. Lesser Spotted Eagle?
[suggested that this is a Tawny Eagle. I can go with that]

This one was taken at Tarangire National Park. Immature Brown Snake-Eagle?
[At least I can ID Brown Snake-Eagles. This one was confirmed]

This one has me stumped. It was taken northwest of Kilimanjaro and appears to be a buzzard of some sort to me. However, the combination of streaking (rather than barring) on the breast and light, unmarked throat and upper breast do not match any thing in my field guide. Anyone?
[Ayer's Hawk-Eagle. Sounds good to me. Doesn't quite match my field guide, but I am very aware of the range of variability in raptors and it does make sense to me]

The next two were taken on the northwest slopes of Kilimanjaro as it flew high over me. I am puzzled by the shape of this bird. It was quite large and I can't figure out any large raptor with the long tail and the apparent feather pattern and coloring especially in the primaries. Great Sparrowhawk? European Honey-Buzzard?
[This one was suggested as another Eastern Chanting Goshawk. I am having a harder time with this one based on my limited resource, but I can see why this species was suggested. The color and shape and size seem right but the pattern on the primaries is what is throwing me a bit. Maybe I just want it to be something different too much.]


Ryan said...

Could the third pic down be a Chanting Goshawk? They look a bit Harrier like.

4th and 5th pics maybe a lesser spotted or maybe a Tawny?

Pic 7 maybe a Long Legged Buzzard (juvenile)?

Sorry for not having more definitive help :)

John Carlson said...

Thanks Ryan,
Looks like you are in consensus with my other suggestions on the goshawk and eagle. Thanks for your help.