About the Author

James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on What Bird is This? #6

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I am very sure that that bird is a black sparrowhawk, looks identical to my local pair in Cape Town!

Hi Callum,
Not a bad guess. Check in tomorrow on TWIP for the confirmation!

Its a Black Sparrowhawk (Accipiter melanoleucus). The white throat and black upperparts points to this species. I can also see the red eye. The tail is black and not rufous ruling out the Augur Buzzard and Jackal Buzzard. The bare legs rule out the eagles and the yellow cere rules out the melanistic morphs of the goshawks and other sparrowhawk species occuring in the area.

Is it a Steppe Eagle?

Well James, not a clue! Just generally some Hawk or Eagle. Lame answer. Lol….

I would say a Black Sparrowhawk.

How about African Hawk Eagle

Hi Tony,
Very close. The colouration is a good match, but if you look closely you’ll see that this bird’s legs aren’t feathered and an African Hawk Eagle’s are…

Hello James,
I think it is a Peregrine Falcon, male.
I wish you & your colleagues and all readers a
Happy New Year! ? That includes of course
adventures in the bush to see and study all the beautiful animals!
Thank you all for a very good blog!

Hi Anne,
That’s not a bad guess but unfortunately not correct. Funny enough though, I had never seen a peregrine falcon at Londolozi until about a month ago, at which time one arrived and has since been hanging around. I believe it may actually be a pair as I seem to remember one of the rangers saying he’d seen two together.

I’m going to say this one is a dark morph Black Sparrowhawk, because of the black eye, white patch on the throat, and what appears to be a little bit of white on the underparts. The legs look orange rather than yellow, but I think it could be a trick of the dim light.

Okay, after enlarging the picture a bit, I cannot see white on the underparts, but I am sticking with my answer.

Hi Kelley,
Look carefully at the chin; there’s white there…

Hi James,
This has to be an adult Jackal Buzzard.

Hi Ian,
A very close guess. Jackal Buzzards lack the white in the chin that this one does.
Augur Buzzards have a bit more white in their chin but their range is far away unfortunately.
The bird in the picture we do see at Londolozi occasionally (its range in the book includes the reserve), but I can only remember two having been recorded in my time there, so it was certainly a surprise to see it.
Answer in TWIP tomorrow…
Best regards,

Senior Digital Ranger

Yes Black Sparrowhawk 🙂

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