FLIGHT STYLE

Bird Watching (UK) - - March Id Challenge -

With dis­tant, of­ten brief views, the ‘jizz’ of birds of prey is an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion in ID. And a key part of this is flight style. A small­ish rap­tor hov­er­ing by a mo­tor­way will prob­a­bly be a Kestrel, a much larger one a Buz­zard. Some birds of prey, no­tably har­ri­ers, have a slow, low hunt­ing flight, of­ten glid­ing with wings held in a shal­low V. Buz­zards also glide with their wings held in a shal­low V, while Honey Buz­zards very rarely will, pre­fer­ring to keep the plane of their wings below the line of the body. Kites (as well as Honey Buz­zards, which are closely re­lated) use their long tails as a ‘rud­der’, con­stantly twist­ing and ad­just­ing. Spar­rowhawks have dis­tinc­tive di­rect flight con­sist­ing of rapid flaps in­ter­spersed with glides (a style which Pere­grines may also use). Mer­lins are dash­ing, very ag­ile speedy birds, and long-winged, swift-like Hob­bies are able to turn on a six­pence and fly at in­cred­i­ble speeds. Ospreys can look like gi­ant gulls!

From Top to bot­tom: Pere­grine, Mer­lin, Red Kite, Marsh Har­rier

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