Can anyone help me with this Buzzard Sp? It is at Sudbourne in Suffolk at the moment.
The attached photos have been taken by Jon Gibbs.
There is a huge variation in Buzzards and if this bird had only showed one or two features I would have left well alone! However it does show many features that are associated with Steppe Buzzard [I]vulpinus[[I] and when taken as a whole appears to be closer to Steppe Buzzard than Common Buzzard. These features are as follows:
From above a distinctly reddish tail which shows a dark terminal bar (the reddish tones are more noticeable when seen against a dark background like trees rather than against a pale sky). Pale grey basis to outer primaries.
From below a distinctly rufous chest, belly and underwing coverts, pale median bar, outer primaries white with no barring, inner primaries and secondaries with fine barring, trailing edge to wing shows a broad black band. Tail appears pale grey with very fine barring.
Structure is subtly but noticeably different to Common Buzzard in that it appears more aquiline, with proportionately longer, narrower wings with the hand being particularly narrow. It seems more agile and lighter in flight with slightly quicker wing beats.
Moult is also of interest in that the Common Buzzards in the area are in active primary moult and some are also moulting their tail feathers. The bird in question has not moulted any of these feathers. Does Steppe Buzzard start moulting at a later date?
I realise that many individuals are not identifiable to form in the field, but would still like to have any comment or feedback on what is a very interesting bird.