unidentified bird


Yesterday afternoon I parked my car in my garage, an open fronted, open roofed double type. I heard loud wingbeats and assumed it was the swallows who often nest at the top of it, though much louder than them.

Then a bird flew repeatedly round in the rafters only a short distance over my head occasionally perching in various places. It was in beautiful condition, an elegant adult bird with completely black back, red head, light coloured narrow bill, larger than a blackbird, underside pale grey with an area of barring. If I'd only seen the underside I would have thought it a bird of prey..

I can't find anything in my books. Any ideas?

  • Hi,
    Unfortunately, nothing is going to match the description entirely. e.g. bird of prey would be ruled out by bill description. Red head would rule out al most every possibility as well.
    I can only guess, but have focussed on the detail most telling IMO. You mentioned pale grey underside with barring. That is specific and for me, clearcut. Sparrowhawk. Fits size. Black back could be ticked off as they can be dark grey and in dim light, like inside an open garage, would appear blackish. Size is approx ok. Elegant too as well as location being plausible. The only issue is 'red head', but as mentioned prev., that eliminates almost every UK species. Male sparrowhawks, esp older individuals, have a rufous face.
    The clincher for me would have been eye colour. I'm only guessing but can't think of anything else that is realistic,
  • Thanks Robbo, we do have sparrowhawks around so yes to best fit, but the black and red were very clear and it was about 4.30pm, so not dusk.
    I'll have to keep my eyes peeled and concentrate on all the features if it comes again.
  • Hi

    maybe an escape of some kind- plenty of them about:)

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