Bird of prey ID reguest

Hello. I'm a keen novice photographer who has a thing for wild birds of prey.

On my way to work this morning I spotted a raptor perched on the hedge on the other side of the road - one that I didn't recognise. Frustratingly I couldn't stop to take a photo!

It appeared to be of large female buzzard size and a similar shape, but the head, neck and under the wings (from what I could see) were white. Not speckelled or light brown, but white.

I am familiar with what red kites, common buzzards, honey buzzards, ospreys, goshawks, sparrowhawks, kestrels and most common British raptors look like and have discounted them.

My Googling has returned a couple of images that do look similar: a Mississippi Kite - which I have also discounted because the bird I saw didn't have the black around the eyes, and the White Bellied Sea Eagle. The latter is very similar, if not the same colouring. I am aware that we are a ways inland and these magnificent creatures are normally found in the southern hemisphere, but it's the closest match I have.

I can't be certain on the size - these sea eagles are rather large, so that's the main thing that's stopping me from saying that this is what I saw with any certainty, but, I find that you can't always appreciate a birds size until they take flight.

Can anyone think of what else it could have been? The location was on the A5 near Little Brickhill at around 10:30 in the morning. Not too far from Woburn - one of my thoughts were that it was a captive bird that absconded from a display, but I don't think they do displays at Woburn Safari Park.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

  • Hi,
    The third paragraph is pretty clear. Is that the reason why you have ruled out the list contained in the fourth paragraph?
  • I would also agree that it likely to be a Common Buzzard as their plumage can vary quite significantly to what they refer to as a "pale variant" .       Always difficult without a photo to be certain but take a look HERE and it will show an example of the paler plumage that can be seen on occasion.


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Thank you for taking the time to reply.

    I've looked at photos of Pale buezards (some one also sugested a pale morph buz'ard - not sure if that's the same thing), and they do look similar. I found this image,+Melbourn+(2).JPG

    This is the closest I've seen, but the contrast between the wings and head,neck and belly was greater, and the lighter parts were white, not pale with the odd dot of colour.

    Until I can get back there with some time on my hands and with a camera, I'll chalk it up as a pale morph common buzzard.

    Thanks for your help!
  • Good luck and hope you see it again and can take a photo of it.


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"