Friday, 29 January 2016

Buzzard bugging me!

I think I do know the answer to the question I pose below, but this bird is bugging me now and I keep looking at the pictures and telling myself its just a common.....but theres that niggle of doubt that I want to put to bed!

Is this a common buzzard or an adult male rough leg?

Bird seen relatively briefly in poor weather conditions. I was first alerted to it when i saw it hovering very well, it then landed briefly where I took the first picture (poor but shows pale features, as well as reed in the way!). The bird then headed west, got mobbed by crows and didnt come up again in the hour I waited in sleet and northerly wind brr!
I do not know much about adult male rough legged buzzard plumage and cant find an awful lot in my books or on the internet hence asking here. To me there are a few pro RLB features and jizz was certainly very good for rlb, but I'm also well aware that I have seen everything from white buzzards right through to very dark individuals so they can throw up all sorts of odd plumages.
What do you think? I'd really like to know!


  1. For what it's worth: my money would be towards RLB!

  2. Thanks David, unfortunately the masses have spoken and are on the common buzzard side of the fence. I'd call it an 'educational bird' clearly not a classic juv RLB but I know ad males are slightly more confusing so thought I'd see, especially considering some of its odd markings. Certainly got me thinking and questioning it!
    Ps have you heard that there has been a hen harrier about the fen this week? Still not seen it myself yet though.
    Thanks- Ben

  3. Glad i wasnt alone- an odd Common Buzzard. One to look at more than once though!

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  5. LOL! Surprised to see that you're so easily persuaded by 'the masses'!
    I photographed a white tailed / dark terminally banded Common at Cantley last year, but it didn't have such a pronounced cope as this one.... We live and learn!

  6. I'm not always easily persuaded by the masses, however the comments certainly add up to common. For me the biggest problem with this bird is the lack of solid white uppertail and black terminal band, general structure not perfect either. Interesting bird, would like to see it again. Oddly a couple of hours later a rough leg was reported from Caister st Edmund!